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Hailstorm offers people reason to rejoice

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A girl plays with hailstones on a road in Iqbal Town on Tuesday night. — White Star / M. Arif
A girl plays with hailstones on a road in Iqbal Town on Tuesday night. — White Star / M. Arif

LAHORE: A heavy rain coupled with hailstorm lashed the city on Tuesday night.

At a time when people were expecting the clouds to dissipate, the sudden rain and hailstorm came as a pleasant surprise. Many areas including Samanabad and Johar Town looked as if there was a snowfall -- weather conditions that were reminiscent of a thick layer of snow that covered Gulberg and many other parts of the city around a decade ago.

People were seen enjoying the ‘rare phenomenon’ on Tuesday and it was raining till last reports came in. The downpour and hailstorm made driving difficult and motorists moved at a snail’s pace. Earlier reports said the westerly wave gave heavy snowfall over the hills and rain in many Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Kashmir and northern Punjab cities.

The weather system is likely to weaken on Wednesday (today). Entering Pakistan from Afghanistan on Saturday, the strong westerly wave has given rain and snowfall over the hills from Balochistan to Gilgit-Baltistan in the last three days. It has dropped temperatures and the Met department expects a further decline after the departure of the system.

Heavy snowfall in Murree, Nathiagali and adjoining areas also affected the flow of traffic. Many tourists were entrapped in Nathiagali and were rescued by the government officials.

The Met department reported 25 inch of snow in Kalam, 23 inch in Malamjabba, 14 inch in Murree, 5 inch in Astore, and one inch in Bagrote and Hunza on Tuesday.

It reported heavy rain in Islamabad (45mm) and Rawalpindi (54mm). Murree received 30mm, Sialkot 25, Mangla 24, Chakwal 19, Gujrat14, Kamra 11, Mandi Bahauddin 10, Jhelum and Sargodha 9, Narowal 8, Gujranwala 7, Hafizabad 2, Lahore 1.

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2019