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Extreme weather in China

Shanghai’s international airports keep calm and carry on in China’s deep freeze

Facilities put de-icing machines and teams on standby as wild weather grips much of the nation

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2018, 9:46pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2018, 11:32pm

International airports at China’s main financial centre are on extreme cold-weather alert, putting squads of snowploughs and de-icers on standby as a deep freeze grips much of the country.

Shanghai’s airport authority said on Tuesday that services at the Hongqiao and Pudong facilities were running as usual but flight delays were still possible as temperatures plunged to freezing.

“The blizzards hit many domestic airports and may cause delays to flights arriving and departing from the two airports,” the authority said, adding that emergency teams and tonnes of de-icing fluid were also on hand.

There were also no reports of flight delays in the capital of Beijing, where temperatures fell to as low as -8 degrees Celsius. In addition, high-speed train services were back to normal after a series of cancellations on Friday.

But in rural parts of Anhui province, one of the provinces worst hit by the wild weather since late last week, residents reported disruptions to water supplies.

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In mountainous Jinzhai county, taps had frozen, severing water supplies for at least five days. Police officers also collected snow to melt for cooking, online news outlet Thepaper.cn reported.

“The water pipes aren’t very deep so they freeze easily in the snow. It is very normal to not have water supplies,” police officer Hu Yang was quoted as saying, adding that snowfalls had blocked roads out of the area.

In Luoyang, Henan province, heavy snow brought down a large market building but there were no reports of casualties, according to online media service Boyu.

Prices of fresh produce from Chinese provinces affected by the extreme weather – including Hubei, Sichuan, Anhui and Shandong – had already risen, the 21st Century Business Herald reported.

In Tangshan, Hebei province, dozens of strangers formed a human chain on a frozen lake to save a mother and her toddler who had fallen through the ice, Hbnews.cn reported.

A widely circulated video showed people holding hands and using bamboo poles to reach out across the ice to drag the mother and child to safety from the centre of the lake.

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“We all threw caution to the wind to save them,” rescuer Man Xiaomeng was quoted as saying.

In another video purportedly taken in the Anhui capital of Hefei, police officer Zhang Dayin was seeing wading in freezing water in shorts for almost half an hour as he struggled alongside others to rescue four people trapped in a car.

Zhang, who is in his fifties, said he had no time to change and immediately jumped into the water when he got to the scene.

“I felt cold at the beginning but I didn’t feel it afterwards, because the lower part of my body became numb,” China News Service quoted Zhang as saying.

In Harbin, Heilongjiang province, well known for its subzero temperatures, 34 couples braved the wind and snow in a mass wedding on Monday.

Each bride and groom, wearing white gowns and black suits under thick coats, walked down the red carpet and exchanged vows and rings as part of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, China News Service reported.