Snow hinders return to work
High-speed trains forced to slow; flights canceled due to bad weather
Snowstorms continued to sweep central and northern parts of China on Thursday, causing difficulties for people heading back to work after their Spring Festival holiday.
High-speed trains on four lines, including Beijing-Shanghai and Beijing-Guangzhou, were forced to lower their speed to 200 km/h because of snowfall, China Railway Corp said on its website. The trains usually travel up to 300 km/h.
More than 8 million train trips were expected to be made by travelers on Thursday as the holiday ended.
To meet travel demand, railway authorities added 768 extra routes on Thursday after 7.97 million train trips were made on Wednesday, the corporation said.
Meteorological authorities in Henan and Hubei provinces issued orange alerts on Thursday afternoon for snowstorms. The storms are expected to expand from central and eastern China to the northern parts of the country, the National Meteorological Center said on Thursday.
Snowfall is likely to continue at least through Friday night in the north, and many places in southern China will be affected by snow starting Saturday, according to the center.
Snow was forecast to fall in Beijing on Friday morning, ending the 107 days without precipitation in the capital.
Xinzheng International Airport in Zhengzhou, Henan province, was closed from 2 pm to 6 pm on Wednesday because of heavy snow that blocked the runways, China News Service reported.
About 120,000 passengers, including those who could not travel by air or bus, went to Zhengzhou Railway Station on Wednesday, said Qi Baojun, a station official.
Wang Huijun, 26, a passenger who was stuck at the Wugang bus station in Henan, said that she had to ask her boss for extra leave after her bus was canceled because of heavy snow.
“The snow has disrupted my trip,” said Wang, who was trying to get back to Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
Stranded passenger Zhang Yu said that he was relieved to learn that his flight might depart after a 15-hour delay on Thursday.
“We should have left for Shanghai at 10 pm on Wednesday,” said Zhang, who was visiting relatives in Luoyang, Henan province.
Zhengzhou experienced its first snow of the year on Tuesday, with temperatures dropping from 15 C to -4 C.
Liang Yun, who works for a telecom company in Shanghai, said she saw at least 10 car accidents in heavy snow during her drive home from Shandong province.
“It was very frightening because those car crashes were just meters ahead of me. They either turned over or were rearended by other vehicles. I had to keep the speed at 40 kilometers per hour,” Liang said.
She had planned a one-day visit to Lianyungang in Jiangsu, but the harsh weather forced her to cancel the trip and hurry back to Shanghai.
Liang, who has been driving for six years, said she could feel the wheels of her car skidding on the slippery surface during the eight-hour drive.
“But, if I hadn’t made the overnight trip, I might have been stuck in the middle of nowhere, because the storm seemed to get worse and many highways are temporarily closed,” Liang said. Qi Xin in Zhengzhou contributed to this story. Contact the writers at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Passengers wait to check in at Hangzhou East Railway Station in Zhejiang province on Thursday.