China : Cold hits 28-yr low, ships stranded as sea freezes

Beijing, Jan 6 (TruthDive): About 1,000 ships have been left stranded in the water as temperatures in China have plunged to their lowest in almost three decades, freezing coastal waters and developing thick layer of sea ice on Laizhou Bay in east China’s Shandong Province.

Chief meteorologist at the Yantai Marine Environment Monitoring Centre, Zheng Dong said the ice expanded to 291 square km this week and is continuing to grow.

China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said on Saturday temperatures recorded since the end of November 2012 have been the lowest to hit China. Since November, the country has withstood average temperatures of -3.8C, 1.3C colder than average and the chilliest in 28 years.

In Beijing, the mercury level has not crossed above 0 mark for several weeks. It had snowed here nearly two weeks ago; a lot of that snow, accumulated along the city’s roads is yet to melt. On December 24, the minimum had gone down to -18 degree Centigrade mark.

Coastal police have issued warning stating the thick ice may cause damage to vessels passing through deeper sea areas near the Bohai and Yellow seas, in the northern East China Sea.

Transport around the country has also been severely disrupted. More than 140 flights from the airport in central Hunan province were delayed, while heavy snowfall forced the closure of some sections of the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway.

Local farmers said the formation of ice is thicker than in past years. This ice might lead to heavy crop losses, as farmers are unable to penetrate the ice to provide adequate ventilation for sea cucumbers and other aquatic organisms. Officials said the cold weather has caused the prices of food including pork to rise.

The CMA’s National Meteorological Centre said the worst prevailing temperatures in north China are likely to pick up next week, although much of south China will continue to experience cloudy skies, rain and snow.

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