LAHORE - Dense fog and biting cold continued disturbing routine life in plains of the country including Lahore on Wednesday with experts predicting the prevailing harsh weather conditions to persist for next couple of days.

The fog started falling in the evening and become so dense at midnight that visibility reduced to zero in open areas. Moderate to dense fog forced closure of portions of Motorway at around midnight, leaving motorists with no option except to use alternative routes including National Highway. The situation was the same at almost the entire National Highway. Dense fog caused the vehicles to move at a snail’s pace.

Kalam remained the coldest place in the country where mercury dropped 14 degree Celsius below the freezing point. Minimum temperature in Skardu and Kalat was recorded -13C, Parachinar and Quetta -10C, Bagrote -08C, Hunza -07C, Malamjabba, Chitral and Dir -05C, Dalbandin and Chillas -03C. Minimum temperature in Lahore was recorded 5C.

Severe cold forced the people to stay indoors wrapped in woolies and blankets, decreasing traffic on otherwise busy roads in the morning and at night. Excessive usage of heaters in the offices and at home led to low gas pressure in various parts of Lahore. In certain areas, women faced huge difficulties in cooking meals for their families.

According to the experts, continental air is prevailing over most parts of the country.Local meteorological department has forecast mainly cold and dry weather for most parts of the country including Lahore during the next couple of days. Fog is likely to prevail in plain areas of Punjab and upper Sindh during morning and night.

Dense fog blanketed plains of Punjab Wednesday morning, disrupting flights operation at the Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore.

According to Civil Aviation Authority officials, low visibility caused by dense fog affected flights operation at the airport as four flights were cancelled while six others delayed. Meanwhile, fog also disrupted road traffic in parts of the province as certain sections of the highways and the motorways were closed for traffic due to poor visibility to avoid any mishap.

A spokesperson for the motorway police said the Khanewal-Multan section of the motorway has been closed owing to dense fog.  Whereas dense fog also affected traffic on the highways in Jacobabad, Pattoki, Okara, Sahiwal and other areas, he added.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department predicted that mainly cold and dry weather is expected in most parts of the country, while very cold in upper parts and north Balochistan. However, cloudy weather with light rain and snowfall over hills is expected at isolated places in Gilgit Baltistan during the next twelve hours. The temperature of some major cities recorded on Wednesday morning: Islamabad two degree centigrade, Lahore six, Karachi twelve,  Peshawar five,  Quetta minus nine, Gilgit minus two, Murree minus one and Muzaffarabad zero degree centigrade.

Dense fog has also disrupted flow of traffic at the National Highway in Habibabad, Renala Khurd, Okara, Sahiwal, Multan, Khanewal, Basti Maluk, Lodhran, Bahawalpur and adjoining areas as visibility was down to 40-meters. The Motorway police have advised drivers to switch on fog lights while driving at very slow speed as the visibility was dropped to zero meters due to dense fog. The Motorway police have also requested the people to stay home and avoid unnecessary travelling.