First Outlook: Pakistan to witness Cooler Winter in early 2012!

Roads of Murree covered with thick snow!

After a hot start to winter in southern Pakistan, the winter conditions are likely to attain peak across the country in the coming year of early 2012 (January and February). La-Nina will influence the world winter with warmer than normal winter in many parts of the United States while colder than normal winter in India, Pakistan, eastern China and Australia.

The winter conditions over north-western India including northern Pakistan are likely to be cooler than normal average during the coming months.

Weather conditions in January and February in Pakistan

Factors that affect Pakistan

Only two weather phenomenons affect Pakistan during winter months;

    1. Western disturbance:These storms have the potential to cause heavy precipitation with strong winds gusting to 100 km/h or more, they could cover whole Pakistan depending upon their intensity. It is major non-monsoon weather system in the north-western sub-continent.
    2. Fog: It mostly affect the plains of Punjab and Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa, depending upon the prevailing conditions, fog could turn into the most threatening source of traffic accidents in the country. It rarely forms over southern Pakistan.

Winter of 2011-2012: First Outlook

Last year (2010 -2011), the intense La-Nina  conditions in the summer caused temperature to drop significantly in the country during winter. The Tokyo-based Regional Institute for Global Change (RIGC) has also forecasted that La-Nina conditions would last till early summer therefore the winter would also be affected.

Due to the prevailing conditions across the region, the winter in coming months is also likely to follow a similar path with Cooler than average conditions expected in northern and central parts of the country especially in the month of January and February. One to three heavy precipitation may occur due to strong western disturbances in north-western Pakistan mainly western Balochistan. (PWP will issue a second outlook on January 15, 2012).

Federal capital

The capital usually have a direct affect from the western disturbance since it is situated in the northern sector of the country.

Islamabad 

Western disturbance causes precipitation in Islamabad in the form of rainfall or hailstorm that are often mistaken for snowfall.

The highest temperature is 30.1 °C (1995) and lowest temperature is −3.9 °C  (1967). While the heaviest rainfall for this month is 166.7 millimetres (1954). In February, the highest temperature ever recorded was 30 °C (1985) and lowest temperature is −2 °C. While the highest rainfall is 268.5 millimetres (1998).

Sindh

Sindh mostly remain dry in winter as it is in a south-eastern direction and a little far from the zones of the direct impact from the westerlies. Following is the climatic conditions of Karachi, Hyderabad and Nawabshah in the months of January and February;

Karachi

Karachi winter rainfall in 2007

Skies over Karachi remain clear but there are one to three days in which overcast conditions are observed. Rainfall does occur in this month but are mostly short-lived and dissipate quickly. One to two western disturbance affect coastal Pakistan on normal basis.

The highest rainfall during this month was 89.3 millimetres, which occurred in 1995. The lowest temperature of 0.0 °C was recorded on 21 January 1934, while the highest temperature of 32.8 °C was recorded on 16 January 1965. In February, the lowest temperature was3.3 °C (37.9 °F) on 11 February 1950 and the highest was 36.1 °C (97.0 °F) on 25 February 1996. The highest monthly rainfall of 96 millimetres (3.8 in) was recorded in 1979.

Hyderabad

Like other parts of the country, Hyderabad too suffers from the influence of western disturbance.

The lowest temperature in the winter was 3.3 °C, recorded on January 21, 1973. The highest temperature in winter was 38.2 °C, recorded on February 16, 1993. The highest monthly rainfall in winter 106 millimetres was recorded in February 2003.

Nawabshah

The western winds usually cause light intensity showers in the city.

The lowest temperature in the winter was −3 °C, recorded on Fenruary 8, 2008. The highest temperature in winter was 38 °C, recorded also on February 26, 2004. The fastest rainfall in 24 hours was also recorded on 25 February 1993, 29 millimetres.

Punjab

The province of Punjab has a major affect from the western disturbance mainly the northern Punjab. The lower part of Punjab mostly remains dry. Following is the climatic conditions of Lahore, Multan and Faisalabad in the months of January and February;

Lahore

Showers and rainfall occur in these months, hailstorms could also occur in these months especially February. The most famous example was on February 26, 2011, when isolated but intense hailstorm created snowfall-like conditions in the cultural capital.

The highest temperature recorded in these month is from February that is 33.3°C (1953) while the lowest is -2.2°C recorded in 1935. The heaviest monthly rainfall occurred in February that was about 503.5 millimetres (1934).

Multan

Lahore is white

Hailstorm that hit Lahore in February in 2011

Dust storms along with showers occur in this month, hailstorm has also been recorded in these month in this historical city.

The average lowest January temperature in the season of winter is 4.5 °C. While the average highest temperature in winter was recorded in the month of December which is of 22.7 °C. The highest monthly rainfall in winter occurs in February that is 9.2 millimetres.

Faisalabad

Faisalabad’s climate resembles the pattern of Lahore.

The lowest temperature in the season of winter is −4 °C recorded on 15 January 1978. While the highest temperature in winter was recorded in the month of February which is of 30 °C recorded on 10, 1993. The highest monthly rainfall in winter occurs in February that is 108.5 millimetres (4.27 in) in February.

Balochistan

Western disturbance and Shamal winds have the major affect on Balochistan. Following are the climatic condition of Quetta and Gwadar in the month of January and February;

Quetta

Rainfall do occur in these months in Quetta city along with occasional snowfall.

The lowest temperature in these months was recorded in January (1970) that was -18°C while the highest was recorded in February (1953) that was 27°C. The heaviest monthly rainfall in these months occurred in February (1982) that was 189 millimetres.

Gwadar

The coastal city and winter capital of Balochistan, rarely experiences Shamal winds in January. Western disturbance also causes rainfall in these months but with light intensity unlike the northern parts of Balochistan.

January is the coldest month of the city with lowest temperature of 2.3 °C on 31 January 2001 while the highest temperature is 31.1 °C recorded on 30 January 1963. The highest rain for this month is 199.1 millimetres recorded in 1970 while the average is 25.9 millimetres (1.02 in). February is also chilly in the city with lowest temperature of 1.2 °C on 1 February 2001 while the highest temperature is 33 °C recorded on 27 February 2008. Moderate intensity rains also occur in this month the highest monthly rainfall is 265.7 millimetres recorded in 1986 and average is 22.7 millimetres.

Pakistan Weather Portal (PWP) will issue a second winter outlook on January 15, 2012.

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