SHANGHAI/HONG KONG • China has issued a blizzard alert as temperatures around the country plunged, shutting down train lines and bus routes, and grounding some flights.
The National Meteorological Centre issued a Code Blue alert, with heavy snowstorms closing in on regions in the eastern and southern provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Anhui and Hunan.
China has a four-tier colour-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.
Freezing temperatures and heavy snow saw high-speed rail lines linking southern Hunan province to the manufacturing hubs of Guangzhou and Shenzhen suspended.
Bus services in Hunan's capital Changsha were suspended due to a snowstorm.
In nearby Hubei province, metro workers woke up before dawn to battle against the snow and keep the underground rail network open, while flights from the cities of Changsha and Wuhan were halted on Sunday morning. The flights were able to resume later in the day.
According to the national observatory, the cold snap is expected to hit many parts of the country before easing after today.
In Hong Kong, temperatures have dropped sharply to below 10 deg C in many parts of the city.
The average winter temperature last year was around 20 deg C.
The Hong Kong Observatory said the cold weather will persist for more than a week, with winds and rain. The Home Affairs Department has opened 18 temporary shelters for people in need.
Six people, aged 50 to 90, were hospitalised with hypothermia and one of them died on Sunday, the South China Morning Post reported.