January 27, 2018 / 10:39 AM / 24 days ago

Heavy snow in central, southern China causes travel havoc

BEIJING (Reuters) - Heavy snow continued to affect parts of China on Saturday, closing highways, causing train and flight cancellations, and even interrupting a soccer match between Vietnam and Uzbekistan in a southern Chinese province.

In central Hubei province, sections of more than 30 highways were closed due to icy conditions, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The three railway stations in Wuhan, Hubei’s provincial capital, canceled more than a hundred train journeys.

By about noon (0400 GMT), 95 flights had been canceled at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport, stranding some 1,200 passengers.

The airport at Nanning, capital of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, also canceled many flights.

In Changzhou city in southern Jiangsu province, the second half of the Under-23 Asian Cup final was interrupted for an hour on Saturday afternoon as snow covered the pitch.

Vietnam, long seen as an underdog, had defeated Australia, Iraq and Qatar to face Uzbekistan in the final, cheered on by Vietnamese at home and at the Changzhou Olympic Sports Centre.

The National Meteorological Centre renewed an orange alert on Saturday for snowstorms in central and eastern China. The orange alert is the second-highest in a four-tier weather warning system.

Heavy snow or sleet was expected in parts of Henan, Hubei, Guizhou and Hunan provinces and regions along the Yangtze River and Huaihe River.

Blizzards will strike parts of Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hubei and Hunan provinces.

On Friday, a unit of China’s State Oceanic Administration issued a blue alert for sea ice in a key port area in the north of the country, potentially disrupting commodities shipments.

Reporting by Ryan Woo; Additional reporting by Li Pei; Editing by Tom Hogeu and Andrew Bolton

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