Heavy snow hits north China, disrupting traffic, classes

People queue for entering the subway station in front of the Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, China, Jan. 3, 2010.(Xinhua/Xing Guangli)

Beijing traffic authority has decided to go all out to deal with possible traffic jams or accidents during peak hours Monday morning after a snow storm Sunday caused traffic breakdown in the national capital.

"Low temperature and ice-covered roads are expected to severely affect local traffic on Monday morning," said Song Jianguo, head of the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau.

More than 7,000 traffic police will be deployed to patrol the city's main roads from 7:00 a.m. on Monday, and more than 5,000 volunteers to maintain order on crowded bus stops, said Song.

Cars move slowly on the Third Ring Road in Beijing, China, Jan. 3, 2010. Heavy snow hit Beijing on Sunday to close

A total of 300 temporary buses will also be dispatched to densely populated communities to ease passenger flow, Song said.

Due to the snow storm, education authorities in Beijing and Tianjin announced on Sunday that classes in primary and middle schools would be suspended on Monday.

Tianjin, neighboring Beijing, has closed the city's airport and shut down highway traffic.

In the Capital International Airport in Beijing, 491 flights were delayed and 756 flights cancelled as of 9 p.m.. Only one of the three runways at the airport remained open, according to the airport management.

The second snowfall in the New Year's Day holiday period turned out much heavier than the first one on Saturday. The city's meteorological bureau upgraded the snowstorm alert from blue to yellow at 8:50 a.m. Sunday.

"The yellow alert means that the snowfall is going to turn heavier to above 6 millimeters in the next 12 hours," said Guo Hu, the bureau chief.

He said that the northern part of Beijing received the most snowfall, or 12.6 millimeters by Sunday morning. The average snowfall in the city reached 4.8 millimeters.

The snowfall in Beijing set a daily record since 1951, according to the National Meteorological Center.

"I don't remember I have ever seen such a big snowfall in the city. I am wondering about tomorrow's traffic, as snow has blanketed roads," said a local resident surnamed Zhou in her 30s.

The city government has mobilized 300,000 people to clear the snow.

The meteorological bureau chief said after the snowfall on Sunday, the temperature would plummet by 7 to 8 degrees to minus 16 degrees Celsius in the next three days, which would be the lowest since the 1980s.

The traffic bureau of Beijing said that 60 bus routes were affected by snow, including service suspension on 47 routes to the rural areas.

"Luckily, we are still in the New Year holiday. More people will be affected tomorrow," said Liu Juan, a local resident who went out to enjoy the snow view.

Airport operation in north China's Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei Province, and Hohhot, capital of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, were also affected by the heavy snow.

The Road Network Center under the Ministry of Transport said on Sunday 15 highways in eight provinces and cities were closed, because of the snow and foggy weather.

He Jinsuo, director of the Hohhot Railway Station, said because of the flight delays and highway closures, passengers rushed to railway stations on Sunday.

"Railway authorities have mobilized workers to clear snow on rail tracks," he said.

A passenger named An Fei on a train running from Baotou City, Inner Mongolia, to Qingdao City in east China's Shandong Province, told Xinhua over phone that the train was stranded near Hohhot, and the train crew told him that they were waiting for a traffic signal, because a section on the line has been blocked by snow.

Chinese central government is working rapidly to cope with the climate emergency.

The Ministry of Public Security on Sunday urged the police forces in snow-affected areas to intensify patrol and clear snow on major road sections such as bridges, slopes and curves.

The ministry has already dispatched two working groups to inspect the traffic situation in snow-affected regions.

Also Sunday, the Ministry of Education called on local education authorities and universities to remove the snow on school buildings and makeshift structures to prevent possible collapses and evacuate students at an early date if necessary.

Education Ministry also called for efforts to guarantee food supply in schools.

The Ministry of Agriculture has dispatched seven working teams to Hebei, Liaoning, Jiangsu, Anhui, Shandong, Henan and Guangdong provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to help farmers reinforce their vegetable greenhouse facilities to cope with heavy snow and low temperature and minimize the loss brought by the disaster.

The Ministry of Transport has informed local departments to prepare enough machines for clearing ice and snow along highways and urban roads to prevent serious traffic jams.

The ministry also asked local transport departments to cooperate with weather departments to release swift weather forecast and traffic information to the public.

People walk on a street during heavy snow in Beijing, China, Jan. 3, 2010. (Xinhua Photo)

People clean the snow-covered vehicles during a heavy snowfall at Daxing district in Beijing, China, Jan. 3, 2010.(Xinhua/Luo Xiaoguang)

Pedestrians walk in the street during a snowfall in Shijiazhuang, capital city of north China's Hebei Province, Jan. 3, 2010.(Xinhua/Gong Zhihong)

People walk on the snow-covered ground during a heavy snowfall at Daxing district in Beijing, China, Jan. 3, 2010.(Xinhua/Luo Xiaoguang)

People take pictures of the snow-covered Forbidden City in Beijing, China, Jan. 3, 2010. Heavy snow hit Beijing on Sunday to close expressways, delay flights and disrupt bus services. (Xinhua/Gong Lei)

People take pictures of the snow-covered Forbidden City in Beijing, China, Jan. 3, 2010. Heavy snow hit Beijing on Sunday to close expressways, delay flights and disrupt bus services. (Xinhua/Gong Lei)

 

[source:chinaview.cn]