LAHORE       -        Parts of the country including Lahore received significant winter rain on Monday, bringing much needed relief to the smog stricken people by washing away hazardous pollutants from the atmosphere.

Wet conditions disturbed routine life by causing massive traffic jams and frequent electricity outages.

Rainfall of varying intensities, strong winds and snowfall over the hills increased chill in weather by causing considerable decrease in temperature during the day and at nighttime.

Widespread rain occurred in all districts of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir. Snowfall also recorded in Malam Jabba, Kalam, Parachinar Bagrot, Skardu, Hunza, Astore, Pattan, Chilas and Murree.

In Lahore, the rains started last night and continued intermittently till afternoon. Overcast conditions, continuously blowing winds and rains increased chill in weather by decreasing temperature during the day and at nighttime.

23mm rains disturbed routine life by causing inundation on roads and roadsides, frequent power outages and massive traffic jams. Massive traffic jams were witnessed on major arteries including The Mall, Jail Road and Ferozepur Road due to inundation of rainwater and slippery conditions. Several incidents of skidding of motorcycles were also reported from various parts of Lahore.

Wet conditions and winds also caused tripping of dozens of Lesco feeders, plunging portion of Lahore in darkness for hours.

People preferred to stay indoors to avoid exposure to harsh weather conditions. Excessive usage of heaters at offices and homes led to low gas pressure. In certain areas, women faced huge difficulties in cooking meals for their families.  The rains washed away hazardous pollutant from the atmosphere, giving much needed relief to the citizens from the smog persisting for the last couple of weeks. The rains are also likely to decrease prevalence of dry cold related diseases.

Excessive pollution and dry cold had increased weather related diseases among Lahorites, especially elderly people and children with weak immunity. Medical experts hoped significant decrease in cold borne diseases after the rain.

“The rains will help decreasing pollution level. It will provide relief to the people from skin dryness and allergy, cough, flu, asthma, common cold, pain in joints and fever,” said Dr Abdul Rauf, a family physician running clinic in Usman Gunj, congested locality in Northern Lahore. He, however, feared emergence of new diseases due to lack of cleanliness and stagnant water on roadsides and open spaces.

“Stagnant water provides conducive atmosphere for growth of bacteria and viruses. If the cleanliness in not improved, people will start getting bacterial and viral infections”, he said, adding, the situation was really alarming in less developed areas of Northern Lahore.  According to the experts, strong westerly wave is affecting most upper and central parts of the country and likely to persist in upper parts till Tuesday morning.

Meteorological department has forecast mainly cold and dry weather for most parts of the country including Lahore during the next couple of days. Partly cloudy weather with light rain and snowfall over hills is expected in Gilgit Baltistan. Fog is likely to prevail in plain areas of Punjab and Sindh during night and morning hours.