2008-03-04 00:53:12 Xinhua English
BEIJING, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Sandstorms and severe drought are expected to hit northern China in the spring, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) has forecast.
"There will be more frequent sandstorms and dusty weather than last year. But the days will not surpass the annual average of 19 days," said Jiao Meiyan, director of the CMA Forecast Department.
Due to a cold air current and little rainfall, sandstorms will increase significantly in mid and western-Inner Mongolia, northern Heibei Province and the southern part of the northeast from Wednesday through to March 11, according to the experts.
"Average rainfall in Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces and the eastern Inner Mongolia autonomous region in January and February was only 1.8 mm, down by 80 percent on the average and the lowest since 1951," China Daily newspaper quoted Jiao as saying.
Beijing has only received 0.1 mm rainfall in the past two months, the second lowest total in history, the average precipitation during this season is 10 mm, according to figures from the CMA.
Besides exceptional drought in some regions last year, which left earth arid and prone to becoming dust, Jiao attributed the sandstorm to La Nina phenomenon.
La Nina is a large pool of unusually cold water in the equatorial Pacific that develops every few years, affecting global weather patterns.
The latest symptom of La Nina conditions were the prolonged snowstorms and low temperatures that resulted in havoc in many parts of China during the past month.
The first regional sandstorm in 2008 hit northwest China's Gansu province in February, with the arid Minqin county experiencing a strong sandstorm.