The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) on Friday put
weather officials on a heightened state of alert as widespread rain
and more snow was forecast for central and western provinces.
The CMA activated a level-three severe weather emergency plan
requiring weather offices to guarantee 24-hour staffing, provide
continuous updates on forecasts, alerts and disasters, and to warn
and prepare the public.
The plan was initiated in units directly under the CMA and the
Meteorological Bureau in Guizhou, Yunnan, Hunan, Hubei, Henan,
Anhui and Shaanxi provinces.
The severe weather was expected to hit from Jan. 25 to 28, said
Xu Xiaofeng, deputy director of the CMA.
The CMA's weather warnings fall into four levels in accordance
with their severity and status of emergency. Level three is
"It is predicted this weather will severely affect transport,
communications and energy supplies and people's work and lives,"
said a CMA statement.
At the same time, Hunan Provincial Meteorological Observatory in
central China released red alert for ice on roads, reminding the
public of the freezing road surface temperature.
The snow, the worst in a decade in many places, has hit most of
the country since Jan. 12, leaving homes collapsed, power
blackouts, highways closed and crops destroyed.
Eight people have died in snow-related accidents, according to
the Ministry of Civil Affairs. About 32.9 million people have been
affected in 10 provinces, including east Anhui, central Hubei and
west Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Total damages are estimated at
6.23 billion yuan (865.3 million U.S. dollars).
China's Ministry of Finance announced on Friday it had allocated
28 million yuan (3.84 million U.S. dollars) to fund the relocation
of local residents in Hubei and Hunan provinces.
(Xinhua News Agency January 26, 2008)