PESHAWAR/DIR: Parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata on Tuesday received rain and snowfall, ending the drought-like conditions.
It made the weather chilly in the mountainous areas. The long dry spell had caused concern among the farmers as their crops were failing. The dry weather had also made the people suffer from various cold-related diseases.
Peshawar barely received a drizzle. However, the weather remained cloudy throughout the day as the people hoped and prayed for more rainfall. The faithful had been offering Nimaz-e-Istasqa in Peshawar and elsewhere in the province throughout December and even earlier, but their prayers were finally answered as 2016 ended and 2017 began.
The mountainous areas including Lowari Top, Kumrat, Thal, Kalkot, Doog Darra and other places in Upper Dir district received heavy snowfall while the plain areas received rain.
The snowfall at the Lowari Top, which links Upper Dir with Chitral, and other areas started during the night between Monday and Tuesday and continued throughout the day. According to local sources, Lowari Top had received up to three feet snowfall. The Kumrat Valley in Upper Dir received up to two feet snowfall. Other mountainous areas got up to one and a half feet snow. The Meteorological Department said that Upper Dir had received 13 millimetres rain.
Meanwhile, hundreds of passengers got stranded on both sides of Lowari Top due to the heavy snowfall. In Upper Dir, the stranded Chitrali passengers blocked the road near Panahkot, prompting the police to resort to baton-charge to disperse the protesters. The sources said four persons sustained injuries in the incident.
The district administration of Upper Dir has established a tented village and a dispensary and made other arrangements for the Chitrali passengers in Panahkot, which is the stopover point for the Chitral-bound vehicles. The police and other law-enforcement personnel have also been deployed in the area.
The passengers asked the deputy commissioners of Chitral and Upper Dir to talk to the authorities concerned to open the Lowari Top to enable them to reach their destinations and save them from the bitter cold.
In Lower Dir, the hill tops of Shahi, Binshahi in Samar Bagh, Kalpani Sar in Maidan, Luqman Banda in Toormand, Gumbat Sar in Talash and Laram Top in Adenzai tehsils also received snowfall.
A resident of Kambat Samar Bagh Aizazullah told The News that snowfall at Shahi Top continued since early Tuesday. Nawab Badshah, a resident of Luqman Banda, told that it was still snowing in his area.
The Swat, Buner and Hazara division also received rain and snowfall. After the end of this rainy spell in Upper KP and Northern Punjab the cold winds will likely to move towards Karachi in next few days that would decrease the temperature in the port city. The intermittent rain may trigger landslides and avalanches in the mountainous areas of KP Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.
A Met Office official predicted an extended winter season till March as more rains are expected during next three months this year. Meanwhile, long-awaited snowfall and rain continued all the day in the Nathiagali, Ayubia, Thandiyani and other hilly areas of district Abbottabad bringing down the temperature to freezing point.
Kaghan, Naran, Shaogaran and other areas also witnessed first snowfall of the season and people remained indoors as temperature touched low level. Persistent rains in Kaghan, Naran and snowfall from time to time caused landsliding and blockage of roads in many areas.
Although main Abbottabad-Murree road was still open for traffic but if the snowfall continues it would be closed for all kinds of vehicular traffic from Bara Gali onward. A large number of tourists reached in Galyat to enjoy the snowfall while people are rushing at the soap fish and other winter delicacies spots to enjoy the chilling weather in Abbottabad.
–Originally published in The News