A 45-km frozen section of the lower reaches of the Yellow River, China's second longest waterway, thawed by Monday without causing any problems.
The Yellow River flood control office of Shandong Province said the lower reaches were subject to a severe cold spell from January 7 and a 5-km section of the river had frozen. By January 20 the river was frozen in 11 different locations in Shandong.
But over the past two weeks the ice melted as temperatures rose in the eastern province. Temperatures are around three degrees Celsius higher than the annual average for the area, officials said. They pointed out that a build-up of water caught below the ice could lead to flooding.
Such floods are common on the Yellow River in early winter and spring when the changing temperatures cause freeze-ups and thaws. The ice can damage the riverbank and lead to flooding.
To prevent this from happening those involved have launched an ice control scheme and monitor flows with remote sensing technology. The river has caused no serious problems so far this season.
The 5,464-km Yellow River originates in Qinghai Province and flows through Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Shanxi and Henan before passing through Shandong and flowing into the Bohai Bay.
(Xinhua News Agency February 6, 2007)