RAWALPINDI: Temperature in Islamabad plummeted to zero degree Celsius for the first time in the current winter season on Friday and is likely to further drop, but there is no sign of rain in the coming week.

However, light rain (with light snowfall over mountains) is expected in Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan on January 13, 16 and 17.

Temperatures in twin cities of Rawalpindi usually drop to minus one or two degrees in December and January. On January 28, 1984, -3.5 degree Celsius was recorded in Islamabad and -4.3 degree was recorded on December 25, 1984. On January 26, 2008, the capital had also recorded -2.8 degrees Celsius.

The cold wave will continue to grip the twin cities and the Met Office said dry weather was expected in most parts of the country and very cold weather likely to continue in plains of Punjab during the next week.

Dense foggy conditions are also likely to continue in plain areas of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and upper Sindh in patches. Frost is also expected to occur in upper parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Potohar region, including Islamabad and Kashmir.

Light rain (with light snowfall over the mountains) is expected in Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan on January 13, 16 and 17. Rain-fed arid areas will remain under water stress and the public is advised to use water judiciously.

Due to foggy conditions in plain areas, day temperatures are likely to remain from 4 to 6 degrees below normal. Farmers are advised to manage their crops and keep their livestock at warm places due to prevailing cold weather conditions.

Travelers are advised to remain extra cautious during the foggy days. It also stated that the citizens should ignore rumours on social media about snowfall in plains of Punjab.

Since last week, citizens of the twin cities have been braving the severe weather amid low gas pressure and electricity outages.

The areas worst affected by low gas pressure are: Media Town, Nayyar Colony, Chaklala Scheme-III, Shah Khalid Colony, Dhoke Ratta, Chaklala, Jhanda Cheechi, Marir Hassan, Morgah, Adiala Road, Fazaia Colony, Sadiqabad, Shamsabad, Dhoke Kala Khan, Nayya Mohallah, Raja Bazaar, Purana Qila, Chittian Hatian, Mohallah Waris Khan, Allama Iqbal Colony, Dhoke Dalal, Akalgarh, Tahli Mohri, Tench Bhatta, Kiani Road, Azizabad and some adjoining localities.

“Due to low gas pressure, we could not light our stoves what to talk of using heaters,” said Asher Ali, a resident of Media Town.

Mohammad Faraz of Shah Khalid Colony said they had been facing electricity and gas shortages with frequent intervals for over a month now.

Due to the severity of the weather, cold-related ailments have shot up over the last few days. Doctors in hospitals said children and elderly persons were among the patients. Pneumonia cases have also increased and citizens have been told to adopt safety measures.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2024

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