Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Suspended Dust Shrouds Islamabad

Last night we had a hail storm and heavy rain after a dust storm that hit Islamabad. Thereafter the weather became cold once again, which otherwise was going with a rising mercury after saying goodbye to the winters. In fact the spring has already set in and everyday I went out, I saw a new set of flowers opening their buds and coming to life.

Photo taken by my cell phone camera shows suspended dust - otherwise the horizon shows hills beyond the skyline
So today morning, when I went out to collect the newspaper, I was amazed to find 'fog' everywhere and I could not see anything beyond 100 meters. In jubilation and amazement, I inhaled a large sum of air and filled it in my lungs. But what!! Instead of filling my lungs with a refreshing cool air, the inhale that I took had something strange in its smell - smell of dust. It was only then I realized that it wasn't that the reduced visibility was not on account of fog but suspended dust that was there in the air. The whole city seemed to be shrouded in dust - something like a scene from the Twilight Zone.

Facing north from my house, on the horizon on clear day, I can see Margalla Hills - but today it is all gone
And even now almost in the afternoon, the dust continues to remain suspended and any 'exercise' to inhale 'fresh air' simply means pumping in dust instead.

Since after the Pakistan-India match, when WAPDA was kind enough not to resort to the usual load shedding, the revenge load shedding is on today and  I could not listen to news or switch on the internet to know what is happening between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka or anything about the dust storm. Now that light has come after a spell of almost 6 hours, I am hurriedly writing this post, and have in the meantime also found that a huge dust storm has hit the country from Karachi, entire Balochistan and even Islamabad.

The sun faintly peeping out from the layer of dust even at around 4 PM when I took this shot
Now met reports say that the storm could stay as long as 24 hours until Tuesday night or even beyond. It is also reported that all PIA flights from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad were cancelled on Monday after a severe dust storm lashed the Quetta valley and other parts of Balochistan.

We hope to see a clear day tomorrow..