(Adds Beijing’s air quality in third paragraph.)
March 9 (Bloomberg) -- Sandstorms are affecting provinces across northern China including Inner Mongolia and Hebei, the official forecaster said, warning airports, highway users and ports to take safety measures as visibility drops.
As many as nine provinces have been hit as winds moving eastward from Xinjiang to Beijing and Tianjin whip up dust, the National Meteorological Center said on its website today, It told citizens in the affected areas to avoid going outside and to wear masks if they do. Temperatures may fall by as much as 14 degrees Centigrade, and heavy snow is forecast in Heilongjiang and Jilin, the weather center said.
Dust worsened air quality in Beijing, with a pollution reading surging to “severely polluted,” the highest on a six- level index, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said on its official Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social- media service. The storm’s strength weakened by the afternoon and air quality tomorrow is expected to be “good,” it said.
Sandy and dusty weather is a frequent event during spring in China, especially in March and April, with four occurrences this year, the national forecaster said. In countries located around the 40th parallel north, soil loosened by thaw is lifted up by wind and create dust, China News Service said, citing Beijing’s weather bureau.
The cold front will spread to regions north of the lower Yangtze River basin, the meteorological center said. The chill followed a surge in heat yesterday, when temperatures in some provincial capitals had reached the highest on record for the first 10 days of March, it said.
At Beijing Capital Airport, some flights were delayed, while a section of the roof over Terminal Three was partially lifted off by a gust of wind, the airport said on its Weibo.
--William Bi. Editors: Jake Lloyd-Smith, Shiyin Chen