Cold snap hits N China, disrupting power, heat supplies

08:27, December 24, 2009      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

A cold snap hit northwestern Chinese regions Wednesday, bringing chaos, including flight delays, traffic jams and stoppages in power and heat supplies.

Heavy snow blanketed most parts of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Tuesday night, bringing down the low temperature to minus 40 degrees Celsius in the north and east of the far western region.

A woman walks in the snow in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Dec. 23. 2009. The temprature in some parts of the autonomous region fell to 40 degreeds below zero due to the affection of the strong old air blowing from Siberia. (Xinhua/Zhao Ge)

In some areas, it packed winds sweeping at up to 100 kilometers per hour, a regional weather bureau spokesman said.

"This is by far the worst cold snap of this winter," he said. "It was a result of chilling factors from western Siberia."

Two expressways in the region were closed Wednesday amid the snow.

In the Kazak Autonomous Prefecture of Ili, the snow began at 7 p.m. Tuesday and stopped at 2 a.m. and cut off power and heat supplies in Yining, a city of about 430,000 people.

Power resumed Wednesday morning and repair work was continuing to restore the heating system.

More than 200 vehicles were stranded on the zigzagging mountain roads in the Ili River Valley Tuesday night, when the fresh snow measured at least 20 centimeters deep, a traffic policeman said.

The snow closed the international airport in Urumqi Wednesday, with more than 3,800 passengers stranded in the terminal building. A total of 42 flights to other cities were delayed, said the Xinjiang Airport Group.

The Xinjiang branch of China Southern Airlines alone estimated that 90 of its flights would be canceled or postponed Wednesday.

A man runs in the snow in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Dec. 23. 2009. The temprature in some parts of the autonomous region fell to 40 degreeds below zero due to the affection of the strong old air blowing from Siberia.(Xinhua/Zhao Ge)

The airport provided free water and food for the travelers. Airport staff cleared snow from the runway and operations resumed at 1 p.m. as the snow weakened.

The cold snap also hit northwestern Shaanxi Province Tuesday and brought down temperatures by 10 degrees Celsius, causing a run on gas supplies.

Liu Fengling, a resident in the provincial capital of Xi'an, complained she could not light her cooking stove Tuesday night.

Taxi drivers also complained they had to wait hours to fill up their gas tanks over the past week.

A spokesman with Xi'an Qinhua Natural Gas Corp said the city's gas consumption had topped 5 million cubic meters daily, more than three times the normal 1.5 million cubic meters.

He said the sudden freeze had increased demand for gas and his company would consider capping industrial and commercial gas consumption to meet demand.

The National Meteorological Center has warned the cold wave will also affect the three northeastern provinces of Liaoning, Jinlin and Heilongjiang, and north China with Beijing at the center.

It said the average temperature in these regions will drop by eight to 12 degrees Celsius from Wednesday afternoon to Friday.

A woman clears the snow in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Dec. 23. 2009. The temprature in some parts of the autonomous region fell to 40 degreeds below zero due to the affection of the strong old air blowing from Siberia. (Xinhua/Zhao Ge)

Source: Xinhua
  • Do you have anything to say?
Special Coverage
  • Top 10 International Stories 2009
  • Top 10 Political Figures in spotlight 2009
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Featured trees in NY usher in Christmas Eve
  • US plane overshoots Jamaica runway, dozens hurt
  • 21,068 Tibetans benefit from safe drinking water project in Lhasa
  • Top 10 web celebrities of 2009
  • Cold snap hits N China, disrupting power, heat supplies
  • Schumacher signs to race for Mercedes
Most Popular
Hot Forum Dicussion