A first spell of winter rains in parts of the country and a respite in snowfall have brought some relief to travellers as they cleared away the dense fog and allowed visibility in the harsh weather conditions.
Motorway M-1 – from Islamabad to Peshawar – and Motorway M-2 – from Islamabad to Lahore – have been opened for traffic because of the reduction in the intensity of fog.
Swat Expressway too has been opened for traffic.
Besides, the snowfall has stopped in Murree.
Four inches of snow fell in Murree and seven inches in Galiyat on Thursday night.
However, Murree’s roads are clear and traffic is normal now.
A spokesperson for the Galiyat Development Authority (GDA) said work was under way to clear the roads of snow after it had stopped.
He added that several tourists were trapped in the region because of the heavy snowfall.
The GDA spokesperson pledged that the roads would be cleared by Friday evening.
He further said the movement of the trapped tourists would be ensured.
A day earlier, the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) had reported that a westerly weather system had entered the country.
It added that moderate rainfall was witnessed in Mianwali, Multan, Kohlu, Jhang, Attock, Peshawar, and their adjoining areas.
Intermittent showers were reported in various parts of Punjab on Thursday.
They included Lahore, Sahiwal, Jhang, Okara, Mian Channu, Makhdoompur, Pindi Bhattian and Tabba Sultanpur.
This spell was expected to continue for the next two days.
In Balochistan, Turbat recorded the most rainfall on Thursday with 34mm, followed by Kalat with 14mm, Quetta 12mm, and Panjgur 10mm.
In K-P, rains were recorded Peshawar on Thursday morning as well as some plain areas of the province.
About the possible impacts, the Met Office predicted that the rain would be beneficial for the standing crops, especially in Barani areas. It added that the dense fog in the country was likely to subside during this period.
The visibility at the country’s airports also improved with the fresh wave of rains clearing away the fog.
At Lahore and Faisalabad airports, the visibility improved to 2,000 metres.
The visibility at Multan airport was recorded at 4,000 metres.
However, some international flights were delayed. They included Saudi Airlines’s Jeddah to Lahore flight SV-734, PIA’s flight PK-860 from Jeddah to Lahore, Serene Air’s flight ER-822 from Jeddah to Lahore, Gulf Air’s flight GF-764 from Bahrain to Lahore, and Air Blue’s flight PA-431 from Abu Dhabi to Lahore.
Separately, Leepa Valley in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) is still covered in snowfall, disrupting its communication with other areas of the country.
Its residents are stuck at their homes with five feet of snow accumulated on the roads of its urban areas.
However, the valley’s administration said it was making efforts to clear the roads and the PMD has predicted that the weather there would improve by Friday evening.
After the PMD’s prediction of the snowfall over the hills of upper K-P, tourists from Peshawar, Nowshera, Mardan, Charsadda, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Thursday rushed to Swat’s Kalam, Bahrain and Malam Jabba valleys.