LAHORE- Blanketed by thick fog, the plains of the country remained in the grip of chilly weather on Monday with experts predicting the harsh conditions to persist during the next 2-3 days.

Thick fog kept the plains engulfed bringing life to a standstill from midnight to early morning. Traffic movement throughout the province remained disturbed due to lesser visibility; trains flights and highway were hampered.

Unaware of miseries of motorists, Motorway Police did not bother to divert traffic from sections where visibility decreased to a dangerous level, completely ignoring the timely warnings of meteorological department which caused road accidents in different parts of the province.

The Police have asked the motorists to make their travel plan and try to travel between 10:00 am to 06:00 pm, drive slowly, maintain safe distance and ensure that the fog lights and wipers of their vehicle are in working.  Motorists have been advised to contact Motorway Police on Helpline 130 before starting journey for guidance about road and weather conditions.

Due to dense fog, visibility level at Allama Iqbal International Airport (AIIAP) reduced to zero, suspending flight operation from 11:30 pm Sunday night to 11:00 am Monday. International and Domestic flights of private airlines and PIA were delayed. An official of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that last flight from Dubai landed at Lahore airport at 11:30 pm and last flight from airport departed at 1:25 am. First arrival was at 11:00 am from Kuwait. The international flights affected due to foggy weather included Dubai flight of Emirates Airlines, Abudhabi of Ittehad Airlines and Damam Kuwait and Dubai flights of PIA.

Experts say that cold and foggy weather will persist till January 21 with brief intervals.

“Lack of significant rain has caused considerable increase in air pollution. Less temperature, lack of wind, high humidity and suspended dust particles have given conducive atmosphere for fog formation. Fog is expected to continue till January 21. However, rains could provide some relief from foggy, said meteorological expert Shaukat Ali Awan.

In Lahore, maximum and minimum temperature was recorded 21 degree Celsius and 06 C respectively. Relative humidity in the evening was recorded 81 per cent.

According to the experts, continental air is prevailing over most parts of the country. A shallow westerly wave is also prevailing over upper parts of the country.

Local meteorological department has forecast mainly cold and dry weather for most parts of the country. Partly cloudy weather with chances of rain (with light snowfall over the hills) is expected at isolated places of Malakand, Hazara, Rawalpindi divisions, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Moderate to Dense foggy conditions would prevail over scattered places in the plains of Punjab and Sukkur division during night/morning hours.

With gradual decrease in the mercury level, dengue has started receding as only two more were tested positive for the deadly virus on Monday.

One new case was reported from Mayo Hospital and the other from Ittefaq Hospital.