(MENAFN - Arab News) With the onset of winter, the demand for warm clothes and devices to keep the homes warm have shot up by 100 percent in the Northern and Central Provinces
Markets supply plenty of woolen garments, blankets and thick cloths with varying pricetags. Warm underclothes, such as pajamas of good quality, are sold at SR100 per piece while jacket prices range between SR90 and SR600.
Furs are sold at SR400 per piece. Electric room-heaters and water heaters are also in high demand. According to a shopkeeper, the price of a heater ranges between SR100 and SR700. He pointed out that heaters operated with oil is also in high demand.
Firewood prices have nearly doubled with the fall in temperature. A bundle of firewood is now being sold at SR35. It was SR15 before the onset of winter.
Firewood traders find it hard to procure the commodity in the face of stringent regulations against felling trees in the country.
"Traders have a tendency to hike the price of firewood in the winter to compensate for the dull market in other seasons," Muhammad Al-Hazmi, a firewood dealer, told Arab News.
Even though firewood is brought to the market from different parts of the Kingdom, Madinah is the major producer of firewood, he said. The Madinah product is also of better quality. He noted that the price of firewood coming from oter provinces is considerably lower.
Firewood is in great demand in the northern towns and cities, where it is a social custom among the youngsters to sit late into the nights during winter, sipping gahwa, eating dinner in open areas around a bonfire.
Naif Al-Anazi, a youngman from Hail, said the open sessions are celebrated "gahwa, tea, ginger milk and qabsa." He said youngsters prefer to head into the mountainous areas to enjoy the weather.
Meanwhile, the Civil Defense Directorate has issued a warning, quoting the latest weather report from the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment, that a cold wave would lead to a drastic drop in temperatures in the Northern Border Province, Al-Jouf, Tabuk, Hail and Qassim. The impact of the extremely cold wind would also be felt in Madinah, Makkah, Riyadh and the Eastern Province, it said. Heavy rains are expected in Baha, Asir and Jazan, the PME report said.
The Civil Defense has urged people to take all safety measures while burning firewood or coal for heating at their homes, or at camping sites in the desert. "Firewood produces toxic fumes," it warned.
Khaled Al-Zoaq, a weather expert, said: "The weather in the early days of this winter is likely to be normal but would gradually become harsh, accompanied by dry north-westerly winds. Nights will become longer and days shorter."