LAHORE - Blanketed by fog, plains of the country including Lahore remained in the grip of cold wave yesterday with experts predicting the prevailing harsh conditions to persist during the current week.

Like the last 2-3 days, fog started falling in the evening and become so dense at midnight that the visibility reduced to zero in open areas.

Less visibility hampered vehicular movement on major inter and intra city routes besides disturbing flight operation and schedule of trains.

Fog forced closure of portions of Motorway at midnight, leaving motorists with no other option except to use alternative routes including National Highway. Less visibility disturbed vehicular movement on almost entire National Highway.

The Police have advised people to avoid travelling unnecessarily. If unavoidable, use fog lights, ensure working of wipers and keep a safe distance from other vehicles.

Lack of sunshine, snowfall over the hills and winds helped maintaining the mercury to a low level, making weather chilly during the day and at night time.

Harsh weather conditions forced the people to stay indoors wrapped in woolies and blankets. Excessive usage of heaters in the offices and at home led to low gas pressure in various parts of the city.

Skardu remained the coldest place in the country where mercury dropped 06 degree Celsius below the freezing point. Minimum temperature in Kalam and Hunza was recorded -05C, Astore -04C, Gupis and Malamjabba -03C,  Kalat and Rawalakot -02C, Bagrote and Dir -01C.  Maximum and minimum temperature in Lahore was recorded 19C and 09C respectively. Relative humidity in the evening was recorded 71 per cent.

According to the experts, continental air is prevailing over most parts of the country. A shallow westerly wave is still affecting northern parts of the country and its adjoining hilly areas.

The local meteorological department has forecast cold and dry weather for most parts of the country including Lahore during the ongoing week. Dense foggy conditions are likely to continue over plain areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and upper Sindh during night and morning hours.