LAHORE - Dense fog and biting cold continued disturbing routine life in plains of the country including Lahore on Thursday with experts predicting the prevailing harsh weather conditions to persist during the current week.

In Lahore, mercury dropped to 02 degree Celsius, making Thursday the coldest day of ongoing winter.

Dense fog hampered vehicular movement on major inter and intra city routes including Motorway and National Highway besides disturbing rail and air traffic.

Increase in usage of heaters to cope with biting cold led to low gas pressure in major cities including Lahore.

The fog started falling in the evening and become so dense at mid night that visibility reduced to zero in open areas. Low visibility hampered vehicular movement on important intercity roads including Motorway and National Highway. Dense fog again 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. The police advised the people to avoid unnecessary travelling from late night to early morning. If unavoidable, switch on fog lights, ensure proper functioning of wipers and drive on slow speed.

Dense fog disturbed normal flight operation at Allama Iqbal International Airport. Several domestic and international flights were delayed and cancelled. Less visibility also disturbed schedule of Pakistan Railways. Almost all trains reached their respective destinations hours beyond the scheduled time.

Snowfall over the hills and winds helped maintaining the mercury to a low level, making weather chilly during the day and at nighttime.

Kalat remained coldest place in the country where mercury dropped 11C below freezing point. Minimum temperature in Skardu was recorded -10C, Kalam -08C, Quetta and Gupis -07C, Rawalakot -05C, Bagrote, Dir, Lower Dir, Malamjabba, Hunza, Mirkhani and Gilgit -04C, Murree and Dalbandin -03C, Chillas, Kakul, Balakot and Saidu Sharif -02C, Parachinar, Drosh, Muzaffarabad, Garidupatta and Islamabad -01C.

Minimum temperature in the City was recorded 02C, making Thursday the coldest day of current winter.

Harsh weather conditions forced the people to stay indoors wrapped in woolies and blankets to keep their bodies warm. Excessive usage of heaters in the offices and at home led to low gas pressure in major cities including Lahore. In certain areas, women faced huge difficulties in cooking meals for their families.

According to the experts, continental air is likely to prevail over most parts of the country during next few days.

Local meteorological department has forecast mainly cold and dry weather for most parts of the country including Lahore during the next couple of days.

Dense/shallow foggy conditions are likely to continue in plains of Punjab, upper Sindh and Peshawar division during morning/night hours. Frost is also expected in upper parts of the country during morning hours.