LAHORE: The Allama Iqbal International Airport and a portion of the Motorway had to be closed on Thursday night due to dense fog.

Fog again blanketed Lahore and many other towns in Punjab on Friday, lowering temperatures heralding the arrival of winter.

Fog descended on Lahore and adjoining towns on Thursday night; it was dense and immediately impacted road and air travel not only in the city but also on the National Highway and the Motorway.

Met office forecasts rain and fog

It made unfavourable aviation conditions that led to the immediate closure of the airport. According to the airport authorities, many incoming flights were diverted to Karachi and Sialkot. As many as 20 flights were cancelled, causing immense problems for the passengers.

The flight operation resumed around 10am but there was a huge backlog to clear.

Officials said the motorway was closed at 10.45pm from Lahore to Pindi Bhattian due to poor visibility. It was opened at 10.30am on Friday.

The National Highway also remained fog bound from Mandi Bahauddin to Okara. Vehicular traffic moved slow and in lines to avoid accidents.

In Lahore, zero visibility caused by dense fog in some areas made travel risky and weather on Friday morning was a bit nippy. The conditions improved after the fog cleared around noon.

Motorway and National Highway spokesman Imran Shah advised people to avoid unnecessary travel especially at night. For safety, people should travel, if necessary, between 10am and 6pm, avoid overtaking and using mobile phones while driving, fix fog lights on their vehicles and drive carefully. They may contact helpline 130 in case of any emergency.

Meanwhile, the Met department forecast dense fog in the plains of Punjab and adjoining Sindh in the next 24 hours (Saturday). It said an approaching westerly wave was likely to generate rain with snowfall over the hills at scattered places in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Fata, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir from Saturday (evening/night) to Monday.

Rain-thunderstorm is expected at isolated places in Quetta, Zhob divisions, Islamabad and upper Punjab (Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Lahore, Faisalabad divisions) on Saturday and Sunday. Light rain/drizzle is also expected along Sindh-Makran coast during the period.

Friday night saw fog blanketing the plains of Punjab and the motorway was closed from Faisalabad to Pindi Bhattian and at Gojra.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2016