Heavy fog closes down China expressways, airports

Beijing, Jan 4 (IANS) Heavy fog and smog continued to create havoc across north and central China on Wednesday, grounding flights and bringing traffic to a standstill.

Several expressways in Beijing, including sections linking the capital with Harbin in the northeast, Shanghai in the east, and neighbouring Tianjin Municipality, were closed from the early hours of Wednesday, Xinhua news agency quoted officials as saying.

Beijing Nanyuan Airport had cancelled 46 flights.

In central China’s Henan Province, low visibility led to traffic restrictions on 12 expressways. The province also ordered all kindergartens and primary schools to close for the day.

The neighbouring province of Shandong upgraded its alert for heavy fog from orange to red Wednesday morning, and as of noon more than 155 flights from its capital Jinan had been delayed, cancelled or diverted.

Many regions experienced heavy smog since last Friday, and it looks set to persist for the remainder of the week.

China has a four-tier colour-coded warning system for severe weather, with red being the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue.