MINGORA: Temperatures fell below freezing point after fresh spell of snowfall in the mountainous region of Swat, upper parts of Hazara, Shangla, Kurram district and Gilgit-Baltistan.
In Mingora, the snowfall started on Saturday morning and continued till Tuesday in the high altitude areas of Swat valley.
The mountainous regions, including Utror, Gabral, Matiltan, Kalam, Mankiyal, Pishmal, Bahrain, Daral, Gabin Jabba, Miandam, Malam Jabba, Loysar, Sangar, Marghuzar and Elum areas, received heavy snowfall. The average temperature in the lower parts remained -2 while in Kalam, Matiltan, Gabral and Ushu region the mercury was at -6.
Due to intense cold weather most of people stayed indoors while bazaars across the valley wore a deserted look.
Tourists have started visiting different areas of Swat valley to witness the snowfall.
KKH, link roads in GB blocked by snow
In Mansehra, the Karakoram Highway was blocked in Chatterplan area following heavy snowfall in upper parts of Hazara on Sunday.
The KKH remained blocked for over two hours after heavy snowfall in mountainous parts of Mansehra, Torghar, Upper Kohistan, Lower Kohistan and Kolai Palas district.
The passengers travelling between Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and motorists remained stranded on both sides. The upper parts of Hazara are in grip of severe cold.
In Shangla, another spell of snowfall started on Saturday night and continued on Sunday pushing the mercury below the freezing point again.
The main road leading to Puran was also blocked due to heavy snowfall and public transport vehicles were stuck on the way. However, Bisham-Swat road remained open to light traffic.
Yakhtangy received up to four feet of snow and Shangla Top three feet while Ajmir, Kandaw, Lilonai, Shahpur, Damorai, Faiz Dara, Belkanai and Chakesar received snowfall of up to two feet paralysing the routine life in the district.
In Parachinar, the snowfall started in Kurram district on Saturday and continued on Sunday, adding chill to the already biting cold.
In Gilgit-Baltistan, the snowfall brought life to a standstill on Sunday.
Heavy snowfall has blocked most of the link roads and temperatures dropped to -16, forcing people to remain indoors while power outages were also reported.
According to official sources, heavy snowfall occurred across Gilgit-Baltistan in the last two days, blocking link roads in upper areas of Skardu, Shigar, Kharmang, Ghanche Nagar, Hunza, Ghizer, Astore and Diamer.
The educational institutions have already been closed for winter vacations.
However, attendance remained thin in offices that remained open on Saturday.
The local administration has advised people not to travel on roads, including Karakoram Highway, during the snowfall. According to met office, the snowfall will continue across the region for next few days.
Also, people have been facing problems as prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and firewood had registered a significant increase.
Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2020