During the upcoming Lunar New Year China will get a much-needed respite from the arctic weather that has blasted much of the country for the past three weeks, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said Monday.
CMA spokesman Yu Xinwen told a press conference in Beijing on Monday that during the weeklong holiday, which will start on Wednesday, most of the southern parts of the country would have fine weather. The northern parts would see no evident snow.
On Monday and Tuesday, light snow and sleet would fall on some parts of the country's northwest and in areas south to the Yangtze River. Icy rain is forecast for some mountainous areas of Guizhou.
Yu said since Jan. 10, snow, sleet and low temperatures have swept China's southern regions, a rarity for the area. The worst winter weather in five decades has been more extreme in the central provinces of Hubei and Hunan. A lingering blizzard, which has lasted more than two weeks, was the longest in the past 100 years. In Hunan, ice sticking to electricity transmission cables was between 30 and 60 millimeters thick.
According to Yu, Anhui Province had experienced continuous snow for 24 days, the longest in more than 50 years, while Zhejiang Province had its worst snowstorm in the past 84 years.
Henan, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai and Ningxia also recorded their highest precipitation since 1951.
Yu said China was not unique in the extreme winter weather. The Iraqi capital Baghdad was hit with a rare snowfall last month, while Iran and Afghanistan suffered snow disasters.
Between Jan. 19 and Jan. 31, some Middle East nations, including Syria, recorded heavy snow, while flights in Israel were cancelled. Over the past couple days, the eastern and western parts of the United States were also ravaged by blizzards.
Experts held the rudimentary reason for the disastrous weather was the abnormal atmosphere circumfluence. Owing to lingering stability of the circumfluence, cold air met warm air in the lower and middle reaches of the Yangtze River and areas to the south of the river. Wet air closure in the southern part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau contributed to the unstable troposphere.
A phenomenon called La Nina aggravated the freak weather, experts noted.
In an article carried by Sunday's People's Daily, Zheng Guoguang, CMA head, said 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.
Earlier reports said the snow had been falling since mid-January, leading to human deaths, structural collapse, blackouts, accidents, transport problems and livestock and crop destruction.
(Xinhua News Agency February 4, 2008)