CITY OF SPRING FEELS THE CHILL

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - PHOTO BY HE YAXIN / FOR CHINA DAILY

Sol­diers of the Armed Po­lice Force clear snow at Kun­ming Chang­shui In­ter­na­tional Air­port in the cap­i­tal of Yun­nan prov­ince on Mon­day. It is rare to have snow in the city in South­west China, known as the City of Spring for its pleas­ant cli­mate.

Early win­ter snow­storms of rare in­ten­sity blan­keted Yun­nan prov­ince on Mon­day.

Road travel was badly dis­rupted and flights can­celed, with thou­sands of pas­sen­gers stranded at Kun­ming Chang­shui In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Lo­cal me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal au­thor­i­ties is­sued 16 alerts for snow­storms and 41 for sud­den falls in tem­per­a­ture, warn­ing of icy roads and tem­per­a­tures be­low freez­ing.

A cold snap af­fect­ing the prov­ince since Fri­day brought rain­storms, snow­storms and tem­per­a­ture falls of up to 18 C across Yun­nan. The haz­ardous weather is ex­pected to end on Tues­day, the Yun­nan Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Bureau said.

Heavy snow­fall stranded more than 2,770 ve­hi­cles on high­ways through­out the prov­ince and blocked hun­dreds of kilo­me­ters of roads, pro­vin­cial trans­port bureau spokesman Zhang Chang­sheng said.

The bureau said that since Sun­day, 207 work­ers and 116 snow plows have been al­lo­cated to clear the snow and guar­an­tee safety, with 198 met­ric tons of de-ic­ing salt used.

In He­qing county, the army helped po­lice res­cue 1,400 peo­ple stranded in ve­hi­cles on high­ways and ac­com­mo­date hun­dreds in the county on Mon­day morn­ing.

“With the timely and ef­fec­tive mea­sures guar­an­tee­ing road safety, we have not re­ceived any re­ports of road ac­ci­dent ca­su­al­ties,” Zhang said.

Nearly 600 in­com­ing and out­go­ing flights had been can­celed or de­layed at Kun­ming Chang­shui In­ter­na­tional Air­port as of Mon­day af­ter­noon, leav­ing more than 2,000 pas­sen­gers stranded, the Yun­nan Air­port Group said.

At its peak on Fri­day evening, the fig­ure passed 10,000.

Xu Xinyu, an offi cial at the air­port, said 4,500 sol­diers and work­ers cleared ice and snow from run­ways for hours on Mon­day, en­abling the air­port, which had to close at about 10 am, to re­open at 2: 30 pm.

The air­port pro­vided free break­fasts and lunches on Sun­day and Mon­day, Xu said.

Wang Hai­jun, a 43- yearold pas­sen­ger from Xi’an in Shaanxi prov­ince who was stranded at the air­port, was hop­ing the weather would im­prove.

“It feels ter­ri­ble at the air­port with­out know­ing when we can go home,” Wang said, adding that he ap­pre­ci­ated the free meals and wa­ter.

Zhang Zhip­ing, 50, another stranded pas­sen­ger, said the re­sponse to the storm has not been quick enough.

“I see many sol­diers clear­ing ice and snow, but they are not do­ing it fast enough,” he com­plained.

Another 11 air­ports in the prov­ince were af­fected by heavy snow­fall on Mon­day with 93 flights can­celed and 8,742 pas­sen­gers af­fected, the Yun­nan Air­port Group said.

The group re­minded pas­sen­gers to call air­lines for flight in­for­ma­tion be­fore go­ing to air­ports.

The civil af­fairs au­thor­i­ties in Kun­ming are act­ing to help the home­less.

“We are send­ing quilts, cloth­ing, food and other items to the home­less to­day, be­cause tem­per­a­tures may fall be­low zero at night,” Li Jin­liu, head of a res­cue center in the city, said.

More than 100 peo­ple had been stay­ing at the center, which pro­vides two free meals a day, as of Mon­day, Li said. It can ac­com­mo­date 200 peo­ple.

The pro­vin­cial civil af­fairs bureau said that floods have left two peo­ple miss­ing and af­fected 29,000. Dam­age caused by the snow­storms is still be­ing as­sessed.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

A pas­sen­ger eats at Kun­ming Chang­shui In­ter­na­tional Air­port as he waits for his flight on Mon­day. The city’s first snow of the win­ter de­layed about 10,000 pas­sen­gers on Sun­day.

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