China renews cold front alert as heavy snow continues to wreak havoc

Chinese tourists stand by the gates of the Imperial Palace during snowfall in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China, on Jan 8, 2018.
Chinese tourists stand by the gates of the Imperial Palace during snowfall in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China, on Jan 8, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING - China has renewed its alert for a cold front as heavy snow continues to cause great damage in parts of the country, Xinhua news agency reported.

The meteorological authority on Monday (Jan 8) evening renewed a yellow alert for a cold snap across the country.

China has a colour-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

From Tuesday to Wednesday, temperatures in northern, northeastern, central and southern China, including parts of Inner Mongolia and Yunnan are expected to drop by 6 to 8 degrees Celsius.

The lowest temperatures in parts of Shaanxi, Henan, Hubei and Anhui could reach minus 10 to minus 15 deg C, or lower, breaking historical records, Xinhua reported.

In those areas hit by heavy snow, icy roads have been closed, causing massive disruptions to traffic.

Nineteen expressways in northeast China's Liaoning province have been closed or controlled since snow started on Sunday night, according to local transport authorities.

In Xinyang City, central China's Henan province, heavy snowfall from last Wednesday to Friday killed one person and injured three others. It was the worst since local records began in 1951, Xinhua said. Primary and secondary schools in the city have suspended classes since last Thursday.

The disaster also flattened 26 houses and damaged more than 2,000 hectares of crops, causing total economic losses of 219 million yuan (S$45 million), Xinhua reported.

In eastern China's Anhui province, quilts and coats have been distributed to residents to shield themselves from the biting cold, following heavy snow since last Wednesday, the worst in Anhui since 2008.

Across the country, the snow has so far affected 1.5 million people and damaged more than 160,000 hectares of crops, according to Xinhua. Total economic losses amounted to 3.5 billion yuan.