This week has seen a blast of winter arrive across China, bringing freezing temperatures and heavy snow falls. An unusually large swathe of the country has been affected by the cold weather. Over the last two days especially, heavy snow has brought chaos across the southern provinces of Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi.
For Hubei, the first snowflakes began to fall over a week ago, with it now experiencing its heaviest snowfall in 16years. Plummeting temperatures have frozen pipes cutting off the water supply to many residents so that fire engines had to be used to carry in fresh supplies.
In Hunan too it is their heaviest snowfall in more than 5 years and has resulted in treacherous conditions across many of the province’s roads. Some 120,000 cars are said to have become stranded in Hunan for days, with almost half a million passengers having to wait until Thursday to be rescued. The government has resorted to using several hundred tons of industrial salt in order to keep the roads open. Air travel was also affected with the freezing temperatures delaying or cancelling flights.
There were also similar problems in the province of Jiangxi as thousands of cars became stranded when a bridge across China’s Yangtze River had to be closed.
The capital did not escape either with snow blanketing Beijing on Thursday. The National Meteorological Centre of China is forecasting the winter blast to continue over the next few days, with further snow falls expected to affect many parts.