More sandstorms to hit China: Official

March 23rd, 2010 - 8:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, March 23 (IANS) Eight to 10 more sandstorms are expected to hit north China in April and May as a result of the frequent spells of cold during spring, China’s Meteorological department has forecast.
The prediction came Monday four days after sandstorms whipped across the country, shrouding cities in a cloud of sand, with winds carrying the dirt as far as Hong Kong and Taiwan.

“The warm weather in March dries the sand, while the frequent cold spells in spring bring wind. Dry sand and wind trigger sandstorms,” Zhang Peiqun, chief forecaster from the National Climate Center told China Daily.

The center lowered its alert level from yellow, the third highest, to blue, the forth highest, Monday. But this does not mean the end of the sandstorms that have hit most parts of North China, Zhang said.

“A new round of cold spells will bring more sandstorms to North China. That’s the way it’s been in the spring every year since 2000,” Zhang said.

Beijing witnessed its second sandstorm Monday, four days after the first one over the weekend affected some 270 million people in 16 provinces, covering 2 million sqkm across the country, meteorological experts said.

“The sandstorm from Mongolia arrived in Beijing Monday morning and is expected to weaken by the evening,” Zhang Mingying, a senior official of Beijing Meteorological Station was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

The centre of the sandstorm is located in the Inner Mongolia and Ningxia Hui autonomous regions, the experts said.

Meanwhile, China’s Central Meteorological Station have asked people to close doors and windows, and to cover their faces with masks or scarves when outdoors.

Duan Li, a spokeswoman for the Beijing Meteorological Station, said conditions in the city seemed more severe after Saturday’s sandstorm deposited grit on rooftops, sidewalks and trees.

Tu Jingfang, a doctor with the Jiangsu Hospital of Chinese and Western Medicine in east China’s Jiangsu Province, said the department had seen a sharp increase in the number of asthma patients since the weekend, which could be attributed to the hazy weather.

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