Smog to clear in time for New Year, fore­cast­ers say

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran@ chi­

Bei­jing is­sued a blue alert for smog on Thurs­day, the low­est level on its color-coded emer­gency sys­tem, although fore­casts sug­gest the only thing that will be blue on New Year’s Day is the sky.

In the south­ern part of the cap­i­tal, air pol­lu­tion is ex­pected to worsen to the sec­ond-high­est level (se­vere pol­lu­tion) on Fri­day, while smog will blan­ket neigh­bor­ing Tian­jin and sev­eral cities in He­bei prov­ince, ac­cord­ing to data from the lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

Tian­jin has is­sued a yel­low alert, while Shi­ji­azhuang, the He­bei cap­i­tal, is­sued the high­est warn­ing — a red alert — on Thurs­day.

Dur­ing a red alert, fac­to­ries are or­dered to sus­pend pro­duc­tion to re­duce emis­sions, and trucks de­liv­er­ing in­dus­trial raw ma­te­ri­als are banned from roads within the city.

“Strong wind from the north should dis­perse the air pol­lu­tion after Fri­day, bring­ing back blue skies across north­ern China,” said Li Ming­mei, deputy di­rec­tor of pub­lic ser­vices for the China Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

A cold front will sweep the vast north­ern and eastern re­gions to send tem­per­a­tures drop­ping by up to 8 C, with snow ex­pected in the north­east and rain in the south, she said.

For a large part of the coun­try, the New Year hol­i­day, which runs Satur­day to Mon­day, will see clear sun­shine, Li added.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to the ad­min­is­tra­tion, the Xin­jiang Uygur autonomous re­gion has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a cold front since Wed­nes­day, re­sult­ing in this win­ter’s strong­est bliz­zard hit­ting the re­gional cap­i­tal of Urumqi and other cities.

Res­i­dents en­coun­tered snow up to 1 me­ter deep on roads on Thurs­day, af­fect­ing traf­fic on ex­press­ways, and some schools were forced to sus­pend classes.

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