Record cold strands thousands

2024-02-19 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Local authorities in Gansu have rescued 43,000 travelers stranded on various highways in the province while on their way to Xinjiang Uygur autono­mous region following heavy snowfall and windstorms over the weekend.

Hotels and restaurants in Mazongshan town in Gansu have opened their doors to stranded travelers. The town is located on the highway linking Xinjiang and Gansu. Local authorities have also made government offices and public facilities available for the travelers, offering them a place to sleep, hot water and food.

Authorities in Guazhou county in Gansu have readied gymnasiums, hotels and school dormitories to shelter those stranded on the road. A total of 18,000 travelers were sheltering in the county as of Saturday night.

Meanwhile, ordinary people have also come forward to help those affected by the inclement weather.

Wang Yang, a resident of Guazhou, was hosting 11 travelers at his home on Saturday. "As all hotel rooms are full, I am willing to help anyone in need and contribute in any way," he said. "They are all friends from different places and we are ready to help in any way we can."

Feng Dongjiao, a tourist from Xinjiang who was stranded in Dunhuang, Gansu province, said that after being exposed to the bad weather on the highway for a long time, she was showing signs of hypoglycemia when she arrived at a hotel in the city. The hotel staff immediately gave her fruits, a gesture that touched her deeply.

As temperatures in Xinjiang plunged to a record-breaking -52.3 C on Sunday, temporary traffic controls were enforced on some snow-hit highways, while many flights and trains were canceled due to the extreme weather.

Most parts of Xinjiang also experienced strong winds and sandstorms, leading to low visibility.

According to the Xinjiang Meteorological Center, 31 stations in the region recorded heavy snowfall from Friday to Saturday. The region also experienced extreme temperature drops, with average temperatures hovering between -39 C and -28 C in southern Xinjiang and -32 C and -16 C in northern Xinjiang over the weekend. The lowest temperature was recorded in Fuyun county of Altay prefecture at -52.3 C on Sunday, breaking the record of -51.5 C set on Jan 21, 1960.

In Xinjiang, extreme weather halted 99 trains between Friday and Sunday, while 35 flights were canceled as of 11 am on Sunday. With traffic in Xinjiang partly suspended, many travelers became stranded in neighboring Gansu province.

Meanwhile, the National Meteorological Center issued an orange alert for cold wave, forecasting temperature drops of 8 degrees to 12 degrees in most parts of the country from Sunday through Thursday.

Parts of Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Northeast China, and Hubei and Hunan provinces could see temperatures plunge by more than 20 degrees.

The country has a four-tier, color-coded weather warning system for cold waves, with red representing the most severe weather, followed by orange, yellow and blue.


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