Already overwhelmed with freezing winds regularly blowing from the cold north, the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi have been in the grips of extremely cold weather and foggy conditions in recent days.
Winter, normally a season of feasts, picnics and joy in this region of the world otherwise known for its enervating summers, has brought with it a not-so-usual sight of people scampering to keep themselves warm in addition to making driving a dicey task, especially at night.
Strong icy winds continued invading the twin cities on Saturday and then fog dropped down rapidly at night to further add to the woes of masses already in discomfort due to low gas pressure or its complete absence.
“It is too cold out there as the sun did not peer through the fog once on Sunday. Gas pressure has dipped further and now only warm clothes can be used to protect the children against the cold,” said Humna Bakir, a house wife.
She said that cooking had become a herculean task and most of the time they had to buy ready-made food from the market.
A strange phenomenon witnessed during this season has been a thick layer of fog engulfing the Pothohar region and plains of KP, in contrast to the usual trend of nearly-blinding fog affecting the plains of Punjab only.
“Normally the fog is restricted to the plains of Punjab and KP for almost the whole of January, but fog in Pothohar region is something unusual,” said a Met department official.
With fluctuations in gas supply for domestic consumers, the priority for people in the wake of plunging temperatures is to keep themselves warm through their usual activities. However, other perks associated with winter like devouring lots of good, vitamin-rich food and going for outdoor picnics and get-togethers has also continued at the same time.
Flight schedules of airlines were also hit due to foggy conditions at almost all the airports of Punjab and Islamabad. The chances of accidents also increase as the motorists had to adopt precautionary measures to drive safely in the inclement weather conditions.
“Drivers should use fog lights besides traveling at a minimum speed to avoid accidents in these conditions,” said Saeed Ahmad, an official of the traffic police. Meanwhile, the motorway police have also advised the people to avoid unnecessary traveling on the motorways and highways particularly at night as dense fog drops visibility level down to 20-30 meters only.
The current inclement weather has also posed health risks as the doctors have warned that if proper precautions are not taken, there are chances of contracting flu, fever, cough or sore throat.
“People should wear more and more warm clothes and cover themselves up properly in these conditions,” said Dr Qurat Fatima, a medical officer at a government hospital.
She suggested that boiled egg with milk could be an excellent food supplement during the winter season.
Climate experts believe that change in climate patterns is behind the foggy conditions in Pothohar region and other areas of KP.
Meanwhile, the met department has forecast that the current wave of dry, cold and foggy weather will persist for the next 24 hours.