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Continuous freezing rain will hit several provinces
China Daily
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Continuous freezing rain will hit several provinces

The country's meteorological authority issued its first orange alert for freezing weather since the establishment of the warning system in 2010.

An orange alert is the second-highest level in the three-tier freeze warning system.

From Feb. 1 through Feb. 4, continuous freezing rain will hit southeastern Chongqing and some provinces including areas in southern Henan, Hubei, central and northern Anhui, northern Jiangsu, central and northern Hunan, and eastern Guizhou, the National Meteorological Center said.

These areas will receive 3 to 8 millimeters of sleet, with some areas receiving more than 10 millimeters from 2 pm Feb. 1 through 2 pm Feb. 4, it added.

The central government has issued a notice calling for better preparations for winter weather around the Spring Festival holiday, including heavy snow and freezing temperatures.

The notice, issued by the general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, said that bad weather is expected to be more severe than usual, with many parts of the country expected to see heavy snow and freezing temperatures.

The notice called for all levels of government and relevant departments to strengthen monitoring of weather conditions and issue timely warnings.

In China, freeze alerts are categorized based on the duration of freezing weather, with red indicating the most severe conditions. Orange is used when more than three provinces encounter sustained freezing weather for 48 hours and are expected to continue experiencing it for the next 24 hours. Till now, China had only issued two yellow alerts for freezing weather, the least severe level, in February 2013 and in December last year.

Xu Jun, chief forecaster at the National Meteorological Center, said the influx of warm and moist air from the southwest will prolong the situation, and exaggerate the intensity and extend the coverage of rain and snow.

The Ministry of Emergency Management launched a fourth-level emergency response to extreme weather on Wednesday. It coordinated measures to support transportation facilities and supplies in 10 provinces, and dispatched two working groups to Henan and Hubei, the worst-affected provinces, to guide the prevention and response work.

On Wednesday evening, Henan experienced heavy snowfall. As of 8 am on Thursday, Fugou county in Zhoukou, in southeastern Henan, received 10.2 millimeters of snow. Snow up to 9 centimeters deep was reported from Songxian county in Luoyang in southwestern Henan and Minquan county in Shangqiu in eastern Henan, said Gu Xiujie, chief forecaster at the provincial meteorological center. He said the snow had been accompanied by a drop in temperatures.

"The highest temperature in most parts of Henan will remain below 0 C till Feb 9," Gu added.

Gou Aning, chief forecaster at the Wuhan meteorological center in Hubei, said a 6 C to 10 C drop in temperature was expected in Hubei, and snowfall will not cease until Feb. 7.

Liu Yanxiang, chief meteorological officer at the public meteorological service center at the China Meteorological Administration, warned of low visibility, wet and slippery roads and bad telecommunication signals.

China DailyGu Yetao

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