Pakistan cold warm karachi
Labourers keep themselves warm near a fire during a cold morning, as they wait for work at the market in Karachi, Pakistan January 13, 2023. Reuters Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: Pakistan this week witnessed some of the most chilling temperatures in its southern region, especially in the city of Karachi. The arrival of cold weather conditions is common this time of the year but temperature drops this year are rare.

Winter wave in Karachi

The coastal city of Karachi saw its coldest day of the season on Sunday as the minimum temperature plummeted to between 4 and 6° Celsius in different neighbourhoods. Jinnah Terminal was the coldest area in Karachi, where the temperature was recorded at 4.3°C followed by 5.2°C at Met Complex, according to the Met Office. The city’s average minimum temperature was 6°C. Several suburban areas recorded lower cold conditions as reported by Pak Weather, Pakistan’s private automated weather station network. The network posted photos of rarely-seen frost on the outskirts of Karachi in the Kathore region. “Pak Weather team already recorded 0.7°C through highly calibrated and accurate devices at Malir Cantt region” of Karachi, the network said on Twitter on January 15.

The residents of Karachi say they experienced one of the coldest January mornings but the city’s all-time coldest temperature recorded is 0°C in January 1934, according to Met department data. Many Karachi residents say the winter season is tougher this year due to natural gas loadshedding as they complained that there is simply no gas to cook even at the promised three meal times — breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Cold spell in Sindh

Many cities and towns of the southern and warmest Sindh province are currently experiencing frosty conditions in the early morning hours as predicted by the Met Office. In Sindh, the Met department recorded the lowest temperature of 1°C in Mohenjo-Daro and Mithi followed by 1.5°C Sukkur, 3°C in Tandojam, 4°C in Larkana, 5° in Jacobabad and 6°C in both Hyderabad and Thatta. These regions are some hottest in summers when maximum temperatures are consistently recorded above 40 degrees Celsius.

Cold, dry weather across Pakistan

Meteorologists are saying the cold wave is prevailing over most parts of the country. “Mainly cold and dry weather is expected in most parts, while very cold in Balochistan, upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kashmir, and Gilgit Baltistan with windy weather conditions are likely in plain areas” according to Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD). Most parts of Balochistan, including Quetta city, are under the icy grip of cold weather with the temperatures plummeting to -10°C and below in some regions. Extreme winter cold is making life harder for people as many are dealing with frozen water pipes and pipe bursts in Balochistan. Since most households rely on gas cylinders for warmth because of a lack of access to the main natural gas supply, authorities have warned people to switch off gas heaters before going to bed to avoid risks of fire and gas leaks.

Lowest temperatures recorded in Pakistan in the 24-hour period on January 16
Astore (Gilgit-Baltistan) -10°C
Malam Jabba, (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) -7°C
Quetta (Balochistan) -6°C
Murree (Punjab) -3°C
Islamabad (federal capital) 0°C
Mithi (Sindh) 1°C