The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said on Wednesday
that the country's northern regions were likely to experience more
frequent and severe sandstorms in spring, while eastern regions
would receive less rain than last year.
"Sandstorm days" were forecast to increase significantly in
eastern Inner Mongolia and northern Heibei, with a rising
possibility of severe occurrences.
Eastern regions could expect less rain. Some areas, especially
parts of Jilin and Liaoning provinces, were prone to "relatively
severe" drought in the spring. As a result, local forest management
officials should raise the forest fire alarm level, said the
Meteorologists said that the adverse forecasts were related to
the La Nina phenomenon and abnormal atmospheric circulation and
would prevail until summer.
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, which is a
warming of the Pacific.
The latest development of La Nina conditions was the cause of
rare prolonged snowstorms and low temperatures that resulted in
havoc in many parts of China during the past month, said
Snow storms that hit 21 provincial-level areas in southern and
central China, the worst in 50 years, killed 107 people and forced
1.5 million people to relocate over about one month. They also
caused losses of 111.1 billion yuan (about US$15.3 billion),
according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
"Losses caused by severe weather would keep rising if we cannot
improve the weak points of weather forecasting," said Jiao Meiyan,
the director of the National Meteorological Center.
She said that the forecast service should help prevent
weather-related disasters. For example, the weather forecasters did
predict heavy snow in many parts of China -- but they didn't
anticipate how long the snow would last and how much would fall, or
its impact on traffic and power supplies.
Meanwhile, she urged the authorities to step up the
dissemination of weather information and raise public
She suggested that power supply, traffic and construction
departments should cooperate with weather officials to carry out
feasibility studies on outdoor facilities to make sure they can
survive harsh weather.
(Xinhua News Agency February 21, 2008)