LAHORE/ISLAMABAD - Parts of the country received pre-monsoon rain of varying intensities on Tuesday, bringing life to a standstill by causing urban flooding and frequent power shutdowns.

Inundated rainwater and slippery conditions of roads caused massive traffic jams in urban areas. The rains, however, provided people a respite in heat wave persisting for the last couple of weeks.

The rains started in the afternoon and continued intermittently till late night. Heavy bursts of rains turned roads and streets in major cities into lakes and ponds.

According to the experts, pre-monsoon currents from Arabian Sea have started penetrating into southern parts of the country and would extend to most parts on Wednesday. A westerly wave is expected to approach upper parts of the country on Wednesday (evening) / Thursday.

The Meteorological Department has forecast scattered dust-thundershowers for Islamabad, Upper Punjab, Southern Sindh and Kashmir and at isolated places of Upper Sindh, Southern Punjab, Southeast Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan during the next couple of days.

In Lahore, strong winds started blowing in the afternoon that followed by first heavy pre monsoon rains. Windstorm uprooted a number of trees and caused felling of branches that hampered smooth vehicular movement on a number of arteries. The rains smashed to the ground tall claims of Wasa regarding its preparation for the rainy season as it took hours to the premier sanitation agency to clear roads from inundated rainwater.

Major roads, not only in Northern Lahore but also in several posh localities, were presenting pictures of lakes and ponds. Many roads were not cleared from inundated rainwater even hours after stoppage of rains. The rains added to the woes and miseries of motorists and pedestrians. Many vehicles and motorcycles were seen broken down in various parts of the City. Massive traffic jams were witnessed at major City roads due to inundation of rainwater. Several incidents of skidding of motorcycles were also reported from various parts of the City. Main Boulevard Gulberg, Lakshami Chowk, Garhi Shahu, Chowk Nakhuda, Mozang, Chuburji, Shaarey Fatima Jinnah, Hameed Nizami Road, Zeldar Road, Ghazi Road, Samanabad, Main Boulevard Iqbal Town, Wahdat Colony, Rehman Pura, Shadbagh, Circular Road, Saidpur, Shahnoor, Scheme Mor, Sabzazar, Abbot Road, Montgomery Road, Gawalmandi, Data Nagar, Abdul Karim Road, Nishat Colony, Tajpura, Mughalpura, Maskeen Pura and Joray Pul were worst affected areas as far as inundation of rainwater in concerned.

Maximum and minimum temperature in Lahore was recorded 44 degree Celsius and 31 C respectively. Relative humidity in the evening was recorded 60 percent.

People come out of their houses in the evening to enjoy pleasant change in weather after the heavy rains. Major parks and picnic spots attracted a large number of people including women and children in the evening. Huge rush was witnessed at Bagh-e-Jinnah, Racecourse Park, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Jallo Park and Lahore Zoo in the evening.

The weather of twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi became very pleasant on Tuesday evening after heavy rainfall, bringing relief for the heat-stricken residents who, besides facing scorching heat, are braving excessive electricity loadshedding. A large number of people including children came out of their houses and started bathing in the heavy rain that lasted for more than 30 minutes. Several roads and streets were filled with rainwater. According to Met Office officials, more rain is expected in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad from today (Wednesday) that would reduce the sizzling temperature.

"The rain is a blessing of Allah at a time when we are facing scorching heat coupled with power outages" said Ahmed Niaz at Dheri Hassanabad while talking to The Nation.