China issues blizzard warning as cold snap bites

A man walks at the snow-covered Shanshan wetland in Wuhan, Hubei province, China December 30, 2018. REUTERS/Darley Shen

China issued a blizzard alert as temperatures around the country plunged on Sunday, shutting down train lines, bus routes and grounding some flights.

The National Meteorological Center issued a code blue alert, with heavy snowstorms closing in on regions in the eastern and southern provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Anhui and Hunan.

Freezing temperatures and heavy snow saw high-speed lines linking southern Hunan province to the manufacturing hubs of Guangzhou and Shenzhen suspended. Bus services in Hunan’s capital city Changsha were suspended due to a snowstorm.

In nearby Hubei province metro workers woke before dawn to battle against the snow to keep the underground rail network open, while flights from the cities of Changsha and Wuhan were halted on Sunday morning, though were able to resume later in the day.

According to the national observatory, the cold snap is expected to hit many parts of the country on Sunday and Monday before easing after the new year. The blue alert is the first rung on China’s four-tier colour-coded weather warning system.