Parts of south China affected by the worst winter weather in 50
years were shrouded in heavy fog on Monday morning, adding to
traffic woes caused by snow and frost over the last three
Visibility was less than 100 meters in parts of Chongqing
Municipality and the provinces of Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hubei,
Jiangxi, Hunan and Guizhou, the China Meteorological Administration
Meanwhile, a new wave of snow, rain and sleet is likely to hit
parts of central and south China on Monday and Tuesday, including
Chongqing and the provinces of Hubei, Henan, Yunnan and Guizhou,
the CMA warned.
The heavy fog forced 50 flights to be postponed or cancelled at
an airport in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, on Monday
morning, local authorities said.
It also led to temporary expressway closures in parts of
Zhejiang, Hunan, Anhui, Jiangxi and Jiangsu, the Ministry of
The good news was the full reopening of the Beijing-Zhuhai
Expressway, a north-south trunk road, reopened on Monday morning,
according to the ministry.
The last of the 6,000 vehicles trapped by snow over the past
week was removed by 9 a.m. after days of hard de-icing work by
1,200 soldiers and armed police, the ministry said.
China Central Television (CCTV) footage showed vehicles moving
along the expressway smoothly and quickly, indicating the fog did
not affect the expressway traffic.
But millions of people, mostly migrant workers, who are hoping
to return home for family gatherings during the Spring Festival
holiday that starts on Thursday, are still stranded at train
stations or in cities far away from their hometowns.
At 8 p.m. on Sunday, 92,000 passengers were stranded at the
railway station in the southern city of Guangzhou and another
15,000 at the railway station in Shanghai, according to the
emergency command center under the State Council, China's
Meanwhile, about 17,000 vehicles were stuck in nine sections of
expressways in different parts of China, the center said in a
The snow has been falling since mid-January, leading to death,
structural collapse, blackouts, accidents, transport problems and
livestock and crop destruction.
The snow havoc has hit 19 provinces, municipalities and
autonomous regions, toppled 223,000 homes and damaged another
862,000, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
The ministry said almost 7.8 million people had been affected
and at least 60 people had been killed.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China has deployed 306,000
soldiers to remove ice on expressways and to help in other
About 1.07 million militia and army reservists were also
participating in the relief efforts.
In addition, more than 12,000 medical teams with 65,500 staff
have been dispatched to snow-stricken areas, according to the
Ministry of Health.
Zheng Guoguang, CMA head, blamed the La Nina phenomenon and
abnormal atmospheric circulation for the disastrous weather that
has left millions facing a cold, dark Lunar New Year holiday.
La Nina is a large pool of unusually cold water in the
equatorial Pacific that develops every few years and influences
global weather. It is the climatic opposite of El Nino, a warming
of the Pacific.
Zheng said the La Nina conditions developed in August throughout
the tropical Pacific and strengthened at the fastest pace in 56
years. The average sea-surface temperature during the past six
months was half a degree Celsius lower than normal years.
(Xinhua News Agency February 4, 2008)