[QODLink]
Weather

China's wintry start to spring

Snow blankets northern China as tropical downpours bring thunder, hail damaging winds and even a tornado to the south
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2013 09:57

Wintry weather in the embassy district of Beijing after a blanket snow hit the Chinese capital on the first day of spring [AFP]

Much of northern China including Beijing has been experiencing its coldest winter in more than 30 years. It’s been a season of transport chaos, both in the air and on the roads.

Added to that, tens of thousands of the county’s livestock have died during the bitter conditions. To make matters even worse, spring is still struggling to break through.

Wednesday was Chungfen on the traditional Chinese calendar. Chungfen literally means spring or vernal equinox and marks the day that the sun crosses the equator, marking the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere.

Ironically, it just so happens that Wednesday saw some rare early spring snow falling in Beijing. Warnings were issued as a mixture of snow and freezing rain caused slippery roads across the capital.

There were not too many problems on the roads, but flight operations were affected at the Beijing Capital International Airport leading to the cancellation of over 50 flights with numerous delays.

Further south, the classic combination of cold, dry air meeting relatively warm, moist, tropical air led to ideal conditions for the formation of a tornado in China’s Hunan Province. The tornado struck in the early hours of Wednesday morning and affected over 110,000 people.  Three people died and 52 others were injured.

The storms stretched into neighbouring Guangdong Province. The city of Donguan was hit by a massive hailstorm which killed eight people and injured 136.  Two of the injuries were serious as violent gales and torrential rains swept across the area.

Quieter weather is expected across southern china over the next few days as thundery showers retreat north. These downpours are likely to be prolonged at times and that could lead to some flooding across central areas of the country over the weekend.

332

Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The conservative UMP party suffers from crippling internal divisions and extreme debt from mismanagement.
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
join our mailing list