JINAN, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Snow starting early Sunday morning hit many parts of eastern Shandong Province, causing closure of highways and delay of flights, while the temperature has fallen drastically nationwide.
The Shandong Provincial Meteorological Observatory warned local people of strong wind and drastic drop of temperature.
Sunday is the day of Dongzhi, or midwinter, the 22nd solar term of of Chinese traditional calendar.
As of Sunday noon, many highways have been closed, including the one connecting the provincial capital Jinan and coastal city Qingdao, the ring roads in Jinan and the Shandong section of the highway from Beijing to southeastern Fujian Province, a local official said.
The snow delayed all the flights in Jinan International Airport from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and some flights in Qingdao International Airport, the official said.
Ferry services and other transportation services on sea have been suspended in Qingdao.
The snow is forecasted to escalate into a snowstorm in southern Shandong later on Sunday and other parts of the province will see light snow or cloudy weather, according the provincial observatory.
The temperature is forecasted to have dropped up to 10 degrees Celsius, with the lowest temperature of 14 degrees minus Celsius to appearing in northwest and central parts of the province and the Shandong Peninsula on Monday and Tuesday morning. Force seven to eight gales are forecasted to sweep the province's coastal areas from daytime to night on Sunday.
Also on Sunday, another coastal city Yantai saw snowfall of up to 9.8 cm. The city mobilized 2,000 people and dispatched 300 snow-clearing machines and used 500 tons of snow melt agent to clean up the streets, said the local authorities.
The Chinese Central Meteorological Station forecasted at 10:00 a.m., the temperature in many provinces and regions in central, southern, eastern and northwestern China, have dropped and will continue to fall in the next two days.
It was forecasted sand storm will appear in northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Gansu Province in the northwest.