Dry weather to continue for next 10 daysArchive
ISLAMABAD: The thick blanket of clouds over most of the Potohar region – including Islamabad and Rawalpindi – resulted in a drop in daytime temperatures, but the clouds drifted east without any precipitation.
However, the mercury dropped to a mere one degree Celsius in the early hours of Saturday. The cold, dry weather conditions are likely to continue for another 10 days.
Apart from a spell of rain at the start of the month, December has been dry – contrary to traditional weather patterns – and experts say this is because of the global pattern.
“It is due to the El Niño effect that December only received one rainfall, otherwise there used to be two to three low intensity rainfalls in this month,” Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) spokesperson Dr Mohammad Hanif said.
The unusual weather pattern is visible in data from the Met Office. There was one instance of medium intensity rainfall of around 20 to 25 millimetres on Dec 10 across Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and northern parts of the country. Total average rainfall in December is around 40 millimetres. With just five days remaining until the end of the month, light rainfall is expected in some parts of the country.
The current shallow westerly wave is affecting the upper parts of the country, but winds from the north are pushing the clouds to the south and to the east, which will only bring snowfall to some areas, including Murree, Malamjabba and parts of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Under the current conditions, thick fog could become a serious issue in the coming days, particularly in the plains of Punjab and northern Sindh.
The Met Office has predicted that the active rain spell is expected after Jan 5 next year, which could continue for three to four days across the country.
Due to the impact of El Niño, winter rainfall has been disturbed in the subcontinent. The first two months – November and December – received lower rainfall than normal, while the second two months – January and February – will receive higher rainfall than normal.
Average rainfall in January is around 60 millimetres, but experts predict that it will be more than 70 millimetres next month.
According to an official from the met office: “This will also result in delayed winters, and the month of March will be colder than usual.”
El Niño is an irregularly winter occurring and unusually warm climatic conditions in the Pacific region near the coasts of northern Peru and Ecuador. International weather conditions, including hurricanes and flash floods in the recent months have been attributed to El Niño 2015.
The coldest place in Pakistan on the night between Friday and Saturday was Parachinar at minus 10 degrees celcius. Skardu and Gupis faced temperatures of minus eight degrees, Rawalakot minus four degrees, Dir, Gilgit, Malamjabba, Quetta minus three degrees and Murree, Abbotabad, Chitral, Kalat and Zhob were minus one.
Published in Dawn, December 27th, 2015