RAWALPINDI: Strong winds accompanied by light rainfall in Rawalpindi and Islamabad blew away temporary shelters and billboards and affected the metro bus service and electricity in most of the city on Sunday.
According to the Met Office, the wind reached 50 knots (110 kilometres per hour) from north to south in the evening.
Wind speed at Zero Point was recorded at 44km per hour, while reaching 110km per hour in Chaklala, Rawalpindi, and 100km per hour at Islamabad International Airport.
A Met Office official said the maximum temperatures in the twin cities will decrease for a day. He said a westerly weather system has entered the country, causing scattered dust storms and rain in parts of the country, including Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Daytime temperatures fell by 3°C to 5°C in upper parts of the country, but lower parts of the country did not see the same relief.
The official said weather in the twin cities would be clear on Monday.
However, the new system will likely bring more rainfall to the region next week.
The strong winds blew away temporary shelters, billboards and kiosks but no loss of life was reported.
A canopy from the Ramazan Bazaar by Nawaz Sharif Park on Murree Road blew away and caught fire, which was controlled but caused panic in the market before Iftar.
Billboards were also uprooted along Airport Road, Peshawar Road, Rawal Road, Jhelum Road, Adiala Road, Islamabad Expressway, Kashmir Road and other areas. Some billboards also fell off rooftops in Saddar and on Murree Road, which were quickly removed by Rescue 1122.
Power supply was suspended due to the weather, causing problems in some areas. Officials from the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) said Iesco suspended electricity because of the wind.
The metro bus service was also briefly halted, while Pakistan Railways trains were slowed down as well. Train drivers were asked to slow trains from 100km per hour to 80km per hour in the hilly Potohar region.
A senior Railways official said there were chances of an incident in the hilly areas, so drivers were asked to slow their trains. He said this did not have a major impact on train schedules.
Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2019