Street children make a fire to warm themselves on a cold and foggy day in Peshawar. — INP
Street children make a fire to warm themselves on a cold and foggy day in Peshawar. — INP

PESHAWAR: Dense fog coupled with biting cold gripped the provincial capital for the second consecutive day on Monday with the Pakistan Meteorological Department saying the situation is likely to persist for two more days.

The fog, which began to blanket the provincial capital on Sunday evening, has led to the cancellation and diversion of several flights from the Bacha Khan International Airport and closure of the Peshawar Islamabad Motorway.

Air traffic at the Bacha Khan International Airport came to a grounding halt as majority of arriving flights were either cancelled or diverted to Islamabad.

The airport website showed that two arriving flights were cancelled, while five were diverted to Islamabad.

Only two flights departed from the airport, while two were cancelled and several others were delayed due to fog.

Met Office says light rain at start of next month to improve situation

The PMD showed that visibility at the airport was 500 meters.

An official of the Motorway police told Dawn that the M-1 was closed to traffic on Sunday night due to poor visibility and later reopened during the day.

“It started at around 7pm on Sunday night in patches and motorway was closed up to Rashkai and then till Burhan and at around midnight was completely closed to traffic up to Islamabad,” the official said.

The Motorway police said visibility was 80-150 meters on M-1 from Peshawar to Burhan interchange and 50-100 meters on GT Road from Chamkani to Mardan Bridge at 6pm on Monday.

A railway official told Dawn that train service was also witnessed delays due to weather conditions but none of them was cancelled.

A PMD official said foggy conditions were likely to persist for two more days in the plain areas of the province.

He said visibility also varied from place to place.

The official said light rain was expected in the province at the start of the New Year, which was likely to improve the foggy conditions.

Met department forecast for Monday night showed that moderate to dense fog was likely to persist in plain areas of the province including Dera Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat, Karak, Swabi, Nowshera, Peshawar, Charsadda and Mardan at night, while cold and dry weather was expected elsewhere in the province. Upper parts of the province will witness very cold and partly cloudy weather.

It said light rain and thunderstorm with snowfall was expected in Chitral and Dir districts.

Also on Monday, mercury dropped to minus five degree Celsius in Parachinar, minus four degree Celsius in Bannu, minus three degree Celsius in Dir, minus two degree Celsius in Abbottabad, minus one degree Celsius in Saidu Sharif and and Chitral, and one degree Celsius in Peshawar.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) in a statement issued here said due to the extreme cold, the authority had dispatched consignments of blankets, mattresses, bed sheets and kitchen sets to the authorities in 20 districts of the provinces for panagahs (shelters).

It said 100 blankets were sent to Kurram and Lower Kohistan districts each, 100 blankets and 80 mattresses to South Waziristan, 150 blankets to Shangla, Nowshera and Charsadda districts each and 20 blankets to Peshawar.

The PDMA said the administrations of those districts had asked for those goods, including 2,435 blankets, 1,125 mattresses, 435 bed sheets and 218 kitchen sets.

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2019