QUETTA - Balochistan’s capital Quetta on Saturday received first snowfall of the winter season due to which temperature fell four degrees below the freezing point causing suspension of water and power supply in almost half of the province.

Areas of Balochistan including Quetta, Ziarat, Kalat, Qilla Saifullah, Zoab were reeling under biting cold. Temperature dropped further following first snowfall of the season.

Land, trees and mountains were seen covered with about three inches to 1 foot of snow which was extremely bewitching for residents and tourists alike.

A large number of people from Quetta made their way to Hanna Lake to enjoy chilly climate. Water at Hunna Lake was also frozen due to extreme cold. People played with each other making snow balls and throwing on each other. Some preferred to witness the natural beauty while others were seen taking selfies and group photographs to save their memories. People were also seen cheering and singing songs to relish the moments.

Meanwhile, land communication was disrupted following continuous snowfall in Ziarat, Khanozai and Lakpass. Loralai also had a massive snowfall and temperature dropped further.

However, many people decided to stay at homes and avoid going to marketplaces. Attendance at various offices remained thin.

Due to heavy snowfall, the Mach Highway was closed for vehicular traffic. Due to the closure of the highway, vehicles were seen stranded on both sides of the road and passengers were shivering with cold weather waiting for help from the National Highway Authority or provincial police and Frontier Corps.

The provincial administration had started work to clear snow from the highway.

Electricity supply to 11 districts of Balochistan was suspended as three power grid stations tripped due to heavy rain and snowfall. Main transmission line of 220KV supplying electricity to Khuzdar, Loralai and other areas of the province tripped due to fault, plunging many areas into darkness.

Met Office said the city had received three inches of snow and there were chances of further snowfall.

Met officials further said an active western disturbance was affecting Balochistan and adjoining areas and likely to persist over central and upper parts till Wednesday.

According to a statement issued by the Meteorological Department, rain, thunderstorm with snowfall over the hills were expected at a number of places in Balochistan, at scattered places in Islamabad, KP, Punjab, Fata, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir while at isolated places in Sindh over the next 24 hours.

Rain-thunderstorm with snowfall over the hills occurred at scattered places in Sindh, Balochistan while at isolated places in south Punjab, DI Khan division and upper Fata.

Rain recorded in different cities of the country was measured in Karachi as (PAF Masroor base 41, PAF Faisal 27, north Nazimabad 25, north Karachi 23, Model Observatory 19, Airport 13, Landhi 08, Gulshane Hadid 07), Dadu 11, Jacobabad 06, Larkana 05, Moen-jo-Daro 02, in Balochistan cities;  Dalbandin 22, Quetta (city 20, Airport 18), Sibbi 15, Barkhan 12, Ormara 11, Lasbela 04, Zhob 02, Kalat 01, in Punjab cities; Jhang 03, Layyah, Bhakkar 02, DG Khan, Noorpur Thal 01, in KP; DI Khan 03, Parachinar 01.

Minimum temperatures in different cities of the country remained; Skardu -14°C, Kalam -10°C, Gupis -09°C, Gilgit, Bagrote, Astore -07°C, Parachinar, Kalat, Malamjabba -06°C, Dir, Rawalakot -05°C, Hunza -04°C, Quetta, Drosh, Chitral, Murree -03°C, Kakul, Chillas -02°C.