Cold front to unleash snow, gales in south

08:50, November 16, 2009      

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Southern China will soon feel the freezing winds and snow that struck the north over the past week.

A cold front will drop temperatures by up to 10 C and bring this winter's first snow to most parts of the southern region beginning today, according to the National Meteorological Administration.

Forecasters said that snowstorms are likely to hit Hubei and Anhui provinces, while heavy rains will sweep through the central regions in the south. Snow storms will also hit Heilongjiang province in the north.

The unusually early snow in northern China that began Nov 9 has killed at least 32 people and affected more than 9.6 million in seven provinces. More than 15,000 buildings have collapsed and nearly 300,000 hectares of farmland destroyed, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said yesterday.

The snowfall was the heaviest in the past six decades in some northern and central provinces like Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi and Henan, with the direct economic loss reaching 7 billion yuan ($1.02 billion), the ministry said.

Although public transportation systems are gradually returning to normal with roads and airport runways open in the north, many people are still stranded by the harsh weather across the country.

As of Saturday night, hundreds of vehicles were still trapped on the expressway from Xingxian county to Lanxian county in Shanxi. Some have been trapped for five days and nights, China National Radio reported yesterday.

The Ministry of Public Security said on Saturday that roads in Hebei, Shanxi, Liaoning, Shandong, Henan and Shaanxi provinces were open with a few trapped cars, while roads in northeastern parts were still closed due to the snow.

On Saturday, thousands of passengers were stranded in Xianyang International Airport in Xi'an, Shaanxi, due to the dense frog, China Central Television reported yesterday.

Meanwhile, across the country, vegetable and pork prices have experienced a slight increase since last Wednesday, according to the national agricultural produce price monitoring system.

Reports of casualties, road closures, flight cancellations and soaring food prices have reminded many of last year's ice storm, which left 129 people dead and caused economic losses of $21 billion.

Source:China Daily
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