Three airports shut, five bus stops collapse after heavy snowfall in China

SHANGHAI - At least three Chinese airports have been shut and nine others are experiencing extensive delays because of heavy snowfall, Chinese aviation data provider VariFlight said on Thursday (Jan 4).

The national observatory put China's snow alert on its second-highest level this week, state news agency Xinhua said. Parts of the central, northern and eastern regions could see up to 30cm of snow, it said.

VariFlight said Hefei Xinqiao International Airport, Fuyang Xiguan Airport in eastern Anhui province, and Jining Qufu Airport in coastal Shandong province had been shut. Some runways at other airports had been closed, causing delays, it said.

Beijing Capital International Airport, one of China's busiest, was also experiencing some delays, it said.

China's National Meteorological Centre has also urged domestic authorities to take precautions regarding roads, railways, electricity supplies and telecommunications, according to Xinhua.

The northwestern part of central Hubei province saw its first snowfall of 2018 on Wednesday.

Some highways were shut due to snow in central Henan province and northwestern Ningxia Autonomous Region. Snowfall in Xian, the capital of Shaanxi province, also led to the delay of many high-speed trains.

The meteorological centre expects widespread rain or snow in China's central and eastern regions over the next week.

Separately, one person died and dozens were injured after five bus stops collapsed due to heavy snowfall in Hefei in East China's Anhui province, on Thursday morning, China Daily reported.

At one bus stop, a 61-year-old woman died and around 20 others were rushed to hospital after a billboard on the bus stop fell on them.

Heavy snowfall began to sweep the province since Wednesday and the provincial observatory raised the snowstorm alert to red in five cities and counties on Thursday morning.