CHAGNSHA, Jan 30 – Heavy fog enveloped several regions in central China on Thursday, with expressways being closed and more than 219 flights delayed or cancelled, local authorities said.
The foggy weather has hit most cities in Hunan, Hubei and Jiangxi provinces since Wednesday evening, causing travel misery for the millions of Chinese prepared to move heaven and earth to get home for Chinese New Year’s Eve gatherings.
Visibility at Changsha Huanghua International Airport in Changsha, capital city of Hunan Province, has been reduced to as low as 100 meters.
A total of 79 flights from the airport had been cancelled and 50 more delayed by 11 a.m., according to the airport’s operator.
Visibility in the cities of Wuhan, Huangshi, Xiaogan and Xianning in Hubei Province has reduced to less than 100 meters on Thursday, according to forecaster Gu Yonggang from the capital city’s meteorological centre.
The Huangshi city’s Meteorological Centre in Hubei issued the first red alert for heavy fog at 6am on Thursday, demanding temporary closure of airports, highways and suspension of ferry services.
Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan has been temporarily closed, affecting 90 flights, according to the airport.
The Jiangxi Provincial Meteorological Centre issued a yellow alert for fog at 6am. this morning and forecast the fog will expand to cover a larger area.
As of 9am, the fog has forced the temporary closure of around 10 expressways in Jiangxi, monitoring from the provincial traffic emergency command centre shows.
Visibility is less than 100 meters at Changbei International Airport in Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi Province, and conditions were expected to last until about 11am, staff from the airport said.
This year, the 40-day Spring Festival travel rush, the world’s largest seasonal migration of people, will see 3.6 billion passenger trips, government statistics suggested.