LAHORE: As rain continued to lash many parts of the country on Saturday, the Met department forecast above normal downpour in the country in March and April, compensating for the below average rainfall in the fading winter.

Frequent spells of rainfall and isolated hailstorms associated with windstorm may hamper the harvesting and threshing of wheat and sowing of cotton during the two months, said the Pakistan Meteorological Department on Saturday.

It said May and first half of June are likely to remain drier and hotter than normal. That would increase the probability of occurrence of heatwaves over plains and coastal belt of the country.

Heatwave conditions in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral may accelerate glacier melting and trigger GLOF (glacial lake outburst flood) events in the coming summer season.

Due to intense heating, monsoon onset is expected to be early during second half of June 2016.

El Niño that caused less rain in summer is declining and global climate models predict it to run in the neutral phase during monsoon season. Prevailing oceanic, atmospheric and surface climatic conditions suggest that uncertainties in Pakistan’s weather pattern will persist towards the early summer till El Niño comes to neutral phase in May-June this year.

Meanwhile, the rain-generating westerly wave was affecting upper parts of country on Saturday and was likely to move northeastward in next 24 to 36 hours.

The Met department forecast rain-thunderstorm accompanied by gusty winds at scattered places in Punjab (Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Dera Ghazi Khan divisions), Islamabad, KP (Hazara, Mardan, Peshawar, Bannu, Kohat, Dera Ismail Khan divisions), Fata and Kashmir, while at isolated places in Malakand division in the next 24 hours.

Hailstorm is likely at isolated places during the period.

It remained cloudy to partly cloudy in Lahore which experienced intermittent rain last (Friday) night.

The Met office reported that Parachinar received 38mm of rain, Kohat 28mm, Bannu 17mm, Toba Tek Singh and Khanpur 15mm, Jhang 14mm, Dadu 12mm, Sukkur 10mm, Rahim Yar Khan, Rawlakot 9mm, Dera Ismail Khan 8mm, Garhi Dupatta and Cherat 7mm, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Shorkot and Muzaffarabad 6mm, Bahawalpur and Kot Addu 4mm, Murree, Kakul, Lahore, Larkana and Zhob 3mm, Islamabad and Layyah 2mm, Dera Ghazi Khan, Balakot and Bahawalnagar 1mm.

Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2016

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