The worst winter weather to hit central, eastern and southern China
in decades could persist into the Year of the Rat, weather
The severe weather, which has killed at least 60 people and left
many millions facing a cold, dark Lunar New Year holiday, could
last until Feb. 8 or 9, according to the latest forecasts from the
Central Meteorological Station on Saturday morning.
It said that heavy snow would continue on Saturday in the
central province of Hunan and in Jiangxi, Anhui, Jiangsu, Shanghai
and Zhejiang to the east. A new round of snow was likely to fall on
Monday and Tuesday.
Much-needed warmer temperatures were unlikely even after the
snow began to end around Feb. 8, chief weatherman Yang Guiming
"In many provinces, roads will remain icy, and it takes time to
return to warm temperatures," he said. "When it gets warm and the
ice and snow melt, we have to watch out for road mishaps, floods
and other problems."
The winter weather has hit 19 provincial regions and the
Xinjiang Production and Construction Corp, toppled 223,000 houses
and damaged another 862,000, said the Ministry of Civil
The ministry said that nearly 78 million people had been
affected as of Jan. 28.
Experts said that the cold, snowy spell had displaced the 1998
Yangtze River flood as the largest natural disaster in decades. The
1998 flood affected 2.3 million people.
The snow storm had caused 60 deaths as of Jan. 31, the Ministry
of Civil Affairs said on Friday.
On Friday, two road patrolmen, Wang Guojie and Lin Shengqiao,
died after their vehicle slid off an icy 30-meter cliff in Yongjia
county, eastern Zhejiang Province.
The province had received at least 10 centimeters of snowfall by
Friday night. In the worst-hit city, Huzhou, there was 36 cm of
snow, and some counties had record low temperatures of minus five
Xiaoshan International Airport in the provincial capital,
Hangzhou, has been closed since 5:00 p.m. on Friday and 5,000
passengers were delayed. Snow on the runway measured an average of
20 cm on Saturday morning, and airport authorities said reopening
was unlikely before 6:00 p.m.
For the first time in 135 years, Shanghai posted a yellow
snowstorm alert on Friday. By Saturday morning, it had received 15
cm of snow.
Affected by the weather, the Shanghai port at the mouth of the
Yangtze River was closed as of 1:00 a.m. on Saturday. The move
stranded more than 1,000 ships and cancelled the departures of
Ice on runways and aircraft almost closed Shanghai's two
international airports on Saturday morning. By noon, only 15 of 127
scheduled departing flights had left Pudong Airport. Hongqiao
Airport reported 16 landings and 41 take-offs, out of 525 scheduled
departures and arrivals.
Airport authorities said that 13 domestic flights were
A week after a snow cut off power in central Hunan Province,
traffic on the key Beijing-Guangzhou rail line had yet to return to
normal. At least 240,000 passengers were still stranded at the
Guangzhou Railway Station on Friday and 5,300 police -- one sixth
of the city's total force -- had been sent to maintain order.
A new snowstorm that gained strength on Friday threatened to
paralyze traffic again on the expressway linking Beijing and Zhuhai
in Guangdong Province, the provincial public security bureau warned
In many sections of the expressway, traffic recovered only on
Friday, thanks to road staff who worked around the clock to clear
ice from the surface.
Traffic was at a standstill on an expressway in southwest
Sichuan Province following an early Saturday pile-up that involved
14 vehicles. Ten people were injured in the accident, which was
blamed on icy road surfaces and fog.
(Xinhua News Agency February 2, 2008)