Snow, icy rain freeze south, east China
By Paul Homewood
The unusually cold weather that has affected Northern China in the last couple of weeks, has now moved south. Although the events described below in the China Daily do not seem exceptional, it must be remembered that this part of China usually has mild winters.
NANCHANG – Provinces are dispatching traffic police, cancelling flights and suspending bus transportation as snow and icy rain persists in south and east China Friday.
Snow and icy rain pelted Chinese provinces of Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui, Zhejiang and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, a National Meteorological Center of China statement said.
In Guangxi in south China, several passenger bus routes passing the region’s northern mountainous areas were suspended after roads there were reported to be covered with ice. Local authorities said they have beefed up patrols on the ice-coated roads to ensure safety.
Snow has caused a number of highway accidents in east China’s Jiangxi Province, bringing traffic to a halt and stranding passengers.
In the Fengcheng section of the Nanchang-Zhangshu Highway, local residents were selling instant noodles and drinks to drivers and passengers stranded in a queue five kilometers long due to a pile-up involving three trucks.
"I didn’t expect such a situation, so I’ve brought no warm coats or food. All I can do now is wait," said truck driver Yao Xuefeng.
The provincial meteorological station of Jiangxi said a total of 72 counties and districts in the province had seen snow as of 11 a.m., with eight of them covered with more than 5 cm.
Jiangxi’s traffic authorities said traffic on certain expressways had not resumed, and workers were de-icing and using shovels to clear the roads of snow.
The provincial meteorological station said the cold weather, which has driven temperatures down by 4 to 6 degrees Celsius, will likely last until Sunday.
Public heating is not provided in Jiangxi, as its winter is usually mild and short. This year’s cold snap, however, has reminded locals of severe weather in 2008 that wreaked havoc and resulted in heavy economic losses.
East China’s Zhejiang Province has also been battered by overnight snow.
At Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou City, 20 flights were delayed, eight canceled and 32 inbound flights diverted to other airports on Thursday. The delayed fights did not resume until 3:40 a.m. on Friday.
The airport planned to have 440 take-offs and landings on Friday. However, fewer than 150 take-offs and landings had happened by 2 p.m..
The airport authority said if the snow continues, the airport will probably close.
Traffic in central China’s Hunan Province has also been disrupted by heavy snow.
The snowfall has forced the closure of some sections of the Beijing-Hongkong-Macao Expressway in the province, according to the provincial traffic department.
Additionally, more than 140 flights have been delayed from Huanghua Airport in Changsha, capital of the province.
Meanwhile, in other news, thick sea ice is causing problems in Shandong Province.
About 1,000 vessels are stranded in the water as a cold snap has created a layer of thick sea ice on Laizhou Bay in China’s Shandong province,
The ice expanded to 291 square km this week and is continuing to grow, said Zheng Dong, Xinhua quoted an official with State Oceanic Administration as saying.
The ice this year is the worst the area has experienced in three years, he said.
According to aquafarmers, the ice is thicker than it was witnessed in the past years. It may lead to heavy losses, as the farmers are unable to penetrate the ice to provide adequate ventilation for sea cucumbers and other aquatic organisms.
Coastal police have warned the ice may cause damage to vessels passing through deeper sea areas near the Bohai and Yellow seas, in the northern East China Sea.