Snow alleviates China drought fears

Snowfall across Asia is gratefully received.

     The snow was a welcome relief to many in China despite paralysing traffic in Beijing, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia [EPA]

    Just a couple of weeks ago we were talking about northern China being in the grips of its worst drought in 100 years, if not 200 years. This drought was threatening the wheat crop and although it was broken at the time by some 3cm of snow, the fear was that we might not see any further significant rain or snow before the end of April.

    Those fears were alleviated on Saturday and Sunday as a large weather system brought rain and snow across eastern and central regions of China. This was the third snowfall here in two weeks. Temperatures plummeted by up to 10 degrees Celsius, easing the severe and long-lasting drought that has plagued those large areas of farmland in and across northern China.

    The flip side of this is that the snow also paralysed traffic in Beijing, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia. At the Beijing Capital Airport, 25 flights were cancelled, with 60 flights delayed for at least an hour and dozens of roads were also closed.

    The worst of the heavy snow has now moved into the Korean peninsula, but the freezing weather and icy roads will make travelling conditions difficult for at least another day, before temperatures, once again creep back up into double figures.

    Staying in Asia, there has also been significant snowfall in India’s northern state of Himachal Pradesh. In fact it has been snowing here for the last 11 days. In the process it turned the region into a winter wonderland and the snow has been gratefully received. Tourists have flocked to the region to take in the beautiful scenery and many more are expected to arrive over the next few weeks. Agriculture should also fair well and the healthy amount of snowfall in the region should also ease the water crisis that often arises during the summer months.

    Snow also made a rather dramatic arrival to parts of California this weekend. Most of the snow was over the higher ground. The Sierra Nevada Mountains had over 60cm of snow but even at lower levels, parts of San Francisco received a light dusting. This is the first time that snow has settled in the city for 35 years. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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