More snow, icy rain to come as bureau issues highest alert

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 January, 2008, 12:00am

Heavy snowfall will continue to cut a swathe through the mainland this week as the main meteorological authority issued the highest possible level of alarm yesterday.

The National Meteorological Administration raised the snowfall alarm from orange to red at 6pm, warning on its website that blizzards should be expected today in five provinces - Hunan, Hubei , Henan, Anhui and Jiangsu .

An orange alarm had been in place since at least a week ago as the unusually severe weather wreaked havoc on transport and disrupted food and energy supplies, mainly in southern and central regions, which are unaccustomed to such heavy snow.

Chief weather forecaster Yang Guiming said that even an orange alarm indicated a 'very dangerous' situation.

'Under such circumstances, people should be prepared. They can't afford not to be; otherwise, there will be serious disaster,' he said.

Parts of Hunan, Guizhou, Jiangxi and Guangxi were expected to be hit by icy rain, the administration said.

Mr Yang told China News Service that the weather showed no signs of improving this week in most areas, with icy rain continuing to fall in the southern, northwestern and eastern regions. But temperatures would rise slightly in the northeast, he said.

Mr Yang noted that it was unusual for snowfall and icy rain to have lasted for half a month - since January 10.

Temperatures hit record lows in several areas.

The Guangxi meteorological department said the province's average temperature between January 12 and 25 stood at 7 degrees Celsius this year, 3.9 degrees below average and the second-coldest average temperature over the same period since 1951.