JINAN - Snowfalls in parts of China have again disrupted transportation and killed livestock, even as the country struggles to recover from the worst winter in half a century.
Snow started to blanket the eastern province of Shandong on Sunday and as of 10 a.m. on Monday, 15 flights had been delayed at the airport in Jinan, the provincial capital. Some freeways were closed and thousands of vehicles were stranded.
The weather bureau in Shandong said the snowfall averaged four to five millimeters in most of the province, but in western Liaocheng city, the accumulated snow was as deep as 10 mm.
In the Ili River Valley in the far western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, blizzards raged from Thursday to Saturday. About 12,000 cattle were killed, causing losses of 18 million yuan (US$2.52 million).
"The continuous heavy snow and wintry weather last week have sharply increased fatalities among ewes and lambs, as it is the breeding season," said Ma Cheng, director of the husbandry bureau of Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture.
Incomplete statistics as of Sunday night showed that 10,830 sheep, 848 oxen, 240 horses and 90 pigs had been killed.
The region experienced prolonged icy weather in the middle of December. Since then, 69,700 cattle had died in Ili. In the past few weeks, the river valley was stricken by ice flows.
Heavy snow and blizzards have been forecast to hit provinces spanning China's central, eastern and northern and northwestern regions, including Xinjiang, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Hubei, Henan, Anhui and Jiangsu, the National Meteorological Centre said on its Web site (www.nmc.gov.cn) on Monday.
Blizzards were also expected in the northwestern part of central Hubei province, already plagued by winter storms earlier this month.
The winter storms that struck much of central and southern China left 129 people dead and losses so far have reached 151.65 billion yuan (US$21.11 billion), according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.