China battling deep freeze
- Published: 5/01/2013 at 08:27 PM
- Online news:
BEIJING — China is experiencing unusual chills this winter with the national average temperature hitting the lowest in 28 years. Snow and ice have closed highways, cancelled flights, stranded tourists and knocked out power in several provinces.
A worker looks through a snow-covered bus window while on his way to inspect electric power transmission lines after heavy snow in Huaibei in central China's Anhui province. (AP Photo)
The China Meteorological Administration attributes plunging temperatures partly to southward-moving polar cold fronts, caused by melting polar ice from global warming. It said the air was moist and likely to dump heavy snow in China, Europe and North America.
It said the national average temperature was -3.8 degrees Celsius (25 Fahrenheit) since late November, the coldest in nearly three decades. The average in northeastern China dipped to -15.3C, the coldest in 43 years, and dropped to a 42-year low of -7.4C in northern China.
In some areas — northeastern China, eastern Inner Mongolia, and the northern part of far-western Xinjiang province — the low has hit -40 Celsius.
The state-run, English-language China Daily reported on Friday that about 1,000 ships were stuck in ice in Laizhou Bay in eastern China's Bohai Sea.
The meteorological administration said Saturday that ice had covered 27,000 square kilometres of the sea surface by Thursday, the most expansive since 2008 when authorities began to collect such data. The administration expects the ice to continue to grow.
In southwestern Sichuan province, more than 1,000 tourists were stranded on Wednesday in a scenic mountainous area because of icy road, the state-run Beijing News reported.
In southern China, snowstorms from Thursday night have disrupted air and road traffic.
In eastern China's Zhejiang province, at least eight flights were cancelled at an airport in Hangzhou on Thursday, and authorities said the airport might be closed if the snow should continue. Utility workers also rushed to restore power in parts of the province, according to state media.
Several highways, including some sections of the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway in central China's Hunan province, were closed on Friday because of icy condition, state media reported.