Severe heatwave alert issued for most parts of the country

The Meteorological Department has issued a severe heatwave warning, predicting intense heat conditions across most regions of the country over the next 10 days. Starting from May 21, Punjab and Sindh are expected to experience significant temperature spikes, with a particularly severe heatwave forecasted from May 23 to May 27.

Temperature projections and regional impact

The advisory highlights that daytime temperatures in Sindh and Punjab are projected to rise 4 to 6 degrees Celsius above normal between May 21 and May 23. This anomaly is expected to intensify, reaching 6 to 8 degrees Celsius above normal from May 23 to May 27. Other regions, including Islamabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Balochistan, will also see temperatures climbing 4 to 6 degrees Celsius above normal during this period.

Dr. Muhammad Afzaal, the Director of Research and Development at the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) in Islamabad, explained that a heatwave is characterised by temperatures soaring 5 degrees Celsius above the normal threshold for three consecutive days or more.

Advised precautions and potential hazards

Authorities have been urged to stay vigilant and implement necessary measures to mitigate the impact of the heatwave. The PMD has also advised the public to avoid unnecessary exposure to direct sunlight and to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Farmers are particularly cautioned about potential adverse effects on crops and are advised to take preventive measures accordingly.

The extreme heat and dry conditions could also elevate the risk of bushfires or forest fires, particularly in Punjab, KP, and northeast Balochistan.

Dust storms, thunderstorms, and rain in northern regions

Concurrently, a shallow westerly wave is expected to influence the upper parts of the country starting on the evening of May 16. This weather system is likely to bring dust storms, thunderstorms, and isolated rainfall in several regions.

From May 16 to 19, Quetta, Zhob, Ziarat, Sherani, Barkhan, Kalat, Khuzdar, Qila Abdullah, Qila Saifullah, Kharan, and Mastung in Balochistan are forecasted to experience these weather events. Similar conditions are anticipated in various parts of KP, including Chitral, Dir, Swat, Abbottabad, and others.

In Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, rain, wind, and thunderstorms are expected from May 16 to 19 in areas such as Diamer, Astore, Ghizer, and Skardu, among others. Punjab will also see dust storms and thunderstorms from May 16 to 18, affecting regions including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, and Faisalabad. Meanwhile, parts of Sindh, including Sukkur, Jacobabad, and Larkana, can expect similar weather on May 17 and 18.

Advisory for farmers and the general public

The Met Office has issued a specific advisory for farmers, warning of the possible impacts on their crops and advising them to take necessary precautions. The general public is also advised to stay indoors during peak heat hours, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid direct sunlight to minimise the risk of heat-related illnesses.

With the predicted severe weather conditions, the authorities and the public are urged to remain prepared and take all recommended measures to ensure safety and minimise potential damage.

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