LAHORE - Blanketed by thick fog, plains of the country including Lahore remained in the grip of severe cold wave on Wednesday with experts predicting the prevailing conditions to persist during the next 2-3 days.

Besides disrupting rail and air traffic, dense fog continued to disturb routine life by hampering vehicular movement on major inter and intra city routes including Motorway and National Highway.

Parts of the plains including the City also saw sunshine for a significant duration of over three hours, slightly increasing in temperature. However, fog started gripping in the evening and it became so dense at midnight that the visibility reduced to zero in open areas. Low visibility caused delay in arrival and departure of international and domestic flights.

 Dense fog also disturbed rail traffic and almost all trains reached to their respective destinations hours’ behind the scheduled time.

Reduced visibility hampered vehicular movement on major intercity roads, especially from midnight to 12 at noon. Dense fog forced closures of Motorway at midnight, causing difficulties for the motorists who left with no other option except to use alternative routes including National Highway.

Biting cold and dense fog forced the people to stay indoors wrapped in woolies and blankets to keep their bodies warm.

Large scale gas loadshedding added to the woes of cold stricken people. In almost all Lahore, women faced huge difficulties in cooking meals for their families.

According to experts, a shallow westerly wave is passing over northern parts of the country. Continental air is prevailing over other parts of the country.

On Wednesday, Skardu and Kalat remained the coldest places in the country where mercury dropped 06 degree Celsius below the freezing point. Minimum temperature in Parachinar, Gupis, Astore and Kalam was recorded -04c; Hunza, Rawalakot, Dir and Malamjabba -03c; Chitral, Drosh and Rislapur -02c; Quetta, Gilgit and Zhob -01c. Maximum and minimum temperature in the City was recorded 15c and 04c respectively. Relative humidity in the evening was recorded 83 per cent.

Local meteorological department has forecast mainly cold and dry weather for most parts of the country during the current week. Light rain (light snowfall over the hills) is expected at one or two places of Malakand division and Gilgit-Baltistan.

 Dense foggy conditions would continue in Gujranwala, Lahore, Faisalabad and Sahiwal divisions and foggy in Sargodha, Rawalpindi, Multan, Bahawalpur, DG Khan, Peshawar, DI Khan and Sukkur divisions during night and morning hours.

 Dense foggy conditions are expected on M2 (Lahore to Pindi Bhattian sector) and fog on M1 (Peshawar to Burhan sector) during night and morning hours.