Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Thursday, March 21, 2002

North China Hit by Decade's Worst Sandstorm

The largest sandstorm in a decade swept over north China Wednesday, hitting eight provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions and affecting more than 100 million Chinese people.


Sandstorm Hits Beijing
Rare sandstorm in history
The largest sandstorm in a decade swept over north China Wednesday, affecting more than 100 million Chinese people.

The sandstorm has hit eight provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in northwest and north China since Tuesday, according to data from the national meteorological satellite center.

It has swept Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Hebei, Beijing and Tianjin, affecting 130 million people, 285,000 hectares of arable land and 2.36 million hectares of grassland.

Beijing's general weather situation hasn't worsened
Though the Chinese Central Meteorological Station has forecast the sandstorm in advance, the situations still took most people by surprise.

Beijing citizens this morning awoke to find themselves enveloped in thick frog with dust and the sky glowed with a weird yellow color. On roads, dusty cars had to drove with headlights on and at low speed.

Yang Guiming, expert with Chinese Central Meteorological Station, commented that Wednesday's severe sandstorm in North China was the worst in over a decade in terms of strength, impact and the area affected.

Zhang Guocai, director of the National Meteorological Center, explained that the lasting drought from last summer in northwest and north China and the Mongolia cyclone have jointly procured the sandstorm.

However, experts pointed out that the general weather situation in Beijing hasn't worsened recently, and the intensity and frequency of sandstorms in north China haven't went up obviously from 1950s, said Zhang Guocai, adding that Wednesday's sandstorm is rarely seen in history.

He said that the sandstorm, the first of its kind seen in Beijing this year, came later than in previous years.

The Central Meteorological Station forecast in the evening that the sandstorm will continue to move eastward and will abate or cease in most areas Thursday.

Nature Continues to Kick up a Storm: Analysis
In recent years, it seems that sand storms are affecting Chinese people's lives more frequently and extensively. As this spring draws near, more sand storms are expected. Among the many Chinese scholars probing the reasons and controlling measures of the sand storms, Wang Shejiao, of the Northwest Historical Environment and Economic Social Development Research Centre under the Shaanxi Normal University, has put forward a rather unique view. (In Detail)

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