Unprecedented rainfall

Published February 21, 2013

ISLAMABAD, Feb 21: For the first time in ten years, February has brought three rainy spells to the area. While such occurrences were common in the 1980s and 1990s, they have become unusual. This month has already exceeded average national rainfall by 50 per cent, and, in Balochistan, by 100 per cent.

In the twin cities, more than 22mm of rain had fallen by Thursday evening, and Murree was expected to see an eventual total of more than a foot of snow.

According to Dr Muhammad Hanif, director of the Pakistan Meteorological Department, the average rainfall in this third spell will be up to 50mm.

The rain has also lowered temperatures in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, bringing another round of gas loadshedding.

The current weather system came to Punjab from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Thursday evening, heralding two days of rain for Rawalpindi and Islamabad and possible snowfall in the hills of northeast Punjab.

"These will be the last winter rains of 2012-13," Dr Hanif said, adding that in another break with the past few years, Pakistan is likely to see rain in the first and third weeks of March. Late-winter rains, he said, are "a blessing" for wheat crops, especially in Barani areas.

The lowest temperatures over the past 24 hours, however, were recorded in Parachinar, where the mercury hit -6 C, and Astore, -4 C.

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