LAHORE - Change in the course of westerly wave due to El Nino phenomenon has caused below normal rainfall in plains, shrinking the winter span this year.

The situation is opposite in the upper parts where above normal rainfall and snowfall has made winter harsher.

Overall the country is likely to receive near normal rainfall and 20 per cent above normal snowfall over the hills this winter.

“The region is currently under the influence of El Nino. Through this phenomenon; when the surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean rises, more rain and snowfall is expected in winter. Shift in the track of westerly wave in the northward has given more rainfall and snowfall in upper parts and much lesser rain in plains of Punjab and Sindh”, said meteorological expert Shaukat Ali Awan. He added the strongest ever El Nino phenomenon was effecting the country after causing extreme weather conditions in the US and UK.

Experts have forecast near normal rainfall for the country and 20 per cent above normal snowfall over the hills of Gilgit-Baltistan, upper Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir.

Two to three wet spells of light to moderate precipitation are expected at scattered places of KPK, Upper Punjab, North Balochistan, GB and Kashmir during January.

Three spells of snowfall are predicted over the hills of Upper KP, GB, Kashmir and two spells of snowfall over the hills of North Balochistan during the month.

Dry weather conditions are likely to prevail in most parts of Sindh and southern Punjab during the month.

“Considerable increase in surface temperature of Pacific is causing worst impact of El Nino in Pakistan. Change in track of westerly wave has caused less rainfall in central Punjab and hardly any rain in the south and Sindh. It has maintained the mercury at a high level. Peak winter season is about to end and there are no feelings of extreme cold. This pattern is likely to continue during January that will shrink winter period in plains”, Shaukat Ali Awan said.

Weather remained cold and dry in most parts of the country yesterday. However, rain with snowfall over the hills occurred at isolated places in Malakand, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala and Lahore divisions.

Skardu remained the coldest place in the country where mercury dropped 10 degree Celsius below the freezing point. Maximum and minimum temperature in Lahore was recorded 19C and 05C respectively. Relative humidity in the evening was recorded 61 per cent.

According to the experts, continental air is prevailing over most parts of the country.

Meteorological department has forecast mainly cold and dry weather for most parts of the country during the next couple of days. However, rain with snowfall over the hills is expected at isolated places in Malakand division, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Foggy conditions are likely to prevail over plains of Punjab, Peshawar division and upper Sindh during night and morning hours.