LAHORE           -           Blanketed by fog, plains of the country remained in the grip of severe cold wave on Friday. Experts predicted harsh weather conditions will persist for a couple of days. People prefer staying indoors to avoid exposure to extreme weather conditions. Fog started falling in the evening before lifting of the existing mass and become so dense at midnight that the visibility reduced to zero in open areas. Incessant fog and biting cold continued disturbing routine life by hampering air, rail and road traffic besides causing low gas pressure in major cities including Lahore. Less visibility led to closure of portions of Motorway, hampering vehicular movement on inter and intra city routes including National Highway and disrupting schedule of flights and trains. Lack of sunshine and continuously blowing winds helped maintain the mercury to a lower level. Minimum temperature in Lahore was recorded 5C. Considerable increase in the usage of heaters in the offices and at home led to low gas pressure.  According to the experts, a westerly wave is present over upper parts of the country and is likely to persist during next 12 hours. Meteorological department has forecast cold and dry weather for most parts of the country including Lahore during the next couple of days. Light rain-thunderstorm with light snowfall over hills is expected at isolated places in Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir. Dense Fog is likely to prevail in plain areas of Punjab and upper Sindh.