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13 killed in snow storms, alert for blizzards in China

| | Beijing | in Sunday Pioneer

Thirteen people have been killed in heavy snowstorms in China's Anhui Province in the last three days as blue alert has been sounded for blizzards.

The worst snowstorms since 2008 have so far affected 1.06 million people in the province, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The storms caused direct economic losses of 1.26 billion yuan ($190 million) and 790 million yuan ($122 million) of losses in agriculture.

Nine cities, including capital Hefei, initiated emergency responses due to the snow.

At least 10 people were killed by the heavy snow in five provinces of central and eastern China since January 2, according to the China National Commission for Disaster Reduction.

Besides Anhui, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu and Shaanxi provinces have all suffered from heavy snow this week.

Also China's national observatory maintained a blue snowstorm alert for the next two days as heavy snow continues to hit the country's central regions.

The National Meteorological Center (NMC) said it expects blizzards to dump 4 to 8 centimetres of snow in parts of Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, Anhui and Hubei. Some areas could see more than 10 centimetres of fresh snow.

In the country's four-tier warning system, red represents the most severe weather, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

The observatory advised residents to stay indoors and urged local authorities to take precautions regarding roads, railways, electricity and telecommunications.

The first snow of the new year has hit large parts of northwestern, central and eastern China since Wednesday, which has brought up to 20 centimetres of snow cover to some regions.

It has also damaged houses, agriculture and power facilities, the report said.

The weather has affected about 13,100 hectares of farmland and destroyed over 900 hectares, causing direct economic losses of 510 million yuan (USD 78.6 million). PTI 




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