Suzhou burr-ied in snow

The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) has issued a “Red Alert” for a good chunk of the country due to wide-spread snow storms.

Looking out my window it’s not hard to see why. Suzhou, a city that might see one light dusting of snow a year is covered in 2+ feet of the white stuff.

Needless to say, this is having a pretty rough effect on a city that has nothing to combat the powder with but for a few brooms attached to wide-eyed locals.

By no means is Suzhou alone in this odd meteorological whiteout, the snow has halted long-distance buses and a number of train lines both in Jiangsu province and across the country. With Spring Festival just over a week away, it couldn’t come at a worse time.

More than 130 trains were halted in Hunan province when ice and snow knocked out power. The trains, stopped on the main line between Beijing and Guangzhou, caused about 150,000 people to be stranded in Guangzhou’s train station. It is still so clogged with people that box lunches which usually go for < 10 RMB are now being sold for 50+ RMB, and are being gobbled up in a blink. For myself, I'm battening the hatches and staying in doors - just praying that the massive amounts of ice and snow hitting the ill-equipped city don't knock out electricity and in turn my only sources of heat, entertainment and work. Mags grabbed some photos on her mobile while trudging home from work this morning (click to big 'em): suzhousnow01.jpg suzhousnow02.jpg suzhousnow03.jpg suzhousnow04.jpg suzhousnow05.jpg

21 Responses

  1. We got it bad up here in Nanjing too. There’s at least a couple feet on top of everything.
    Lots of stuff closed down and empty cabs are literally nowhere to be found.
    It’s tough when a part of the world that’s not used it gets pummeled. We get this kind of stuff in Michigan every year, but we’re ready for it with hundreds of snowplows, salting trucks, and heated highways.

  2. Shanghai has snow but nothing compared to what you guys are getting there. I don’t see it as very much snow — being from Canada — but it’s much more than Shanghaiese are used to (more than I’ve seen in four and half years of being here). People are walking slowly and still riding their bikes and acting very surprised when the tires slide on a patch of ice and the bike tips over.

    I was looking forward to escaping to warmer weather in Guangzhou this weekend, but I was told it’s cold down there too. Hopefully I won’t run into any flight delays by then.


  3. Just want to remind you that water mains tend to break when the frost gets down to the mains, especially those not buried deep enough, and where there’s lots of moisture in the ground. So, keep some water around.

  4. @Jason: Exactly the same where I’m from – we get way more snow, but are far more prepared.

    @John G.: Good luck with the travel. Though markedly less than trains and buses, I’m sure airports are feeling some of the strain of this as well. Guangzhou’s got to be warmer than here!

    @From Toronto: Would be interesting to compare. All reports seem to say that this is the most snow Jiangsu’s had in more than half a century.

    @Byron: The down side of working from home. Sigh.

  5. Being Canadian also, I am LOVING THE snow (but, for the record, feel bad for those people stuck in the train station). Shanghai is looking very pretty these days with a few inches. I went out and made a snowman in the park. Ryan (I stuck this post on the forum of cause I liked it. Thanks for writing such good stuff all the time.

  6. Thanks for the pics, Ryan; I don’t recognise any of these places though… Wish I was there, but also hope the snow is not gonna last too long, or I won’t be able to land…

  7. 10 more days of sunshine, beaches, iced Heineken, mangoes and watermelons… make the most of them and then will have 3 weeks of freezing but sweet sweet home.

  8. @Rebekah: Cheers Rebekah – saw your snow photos on Facebook, looks like you’re having a blast in it.

    @Tian: I’d take beaches, sunshine and cold Heinies over home (sweet or not) any day 🙂

    As for the places, I live off Nan Yuan Lu., the wider streets (palms) are out in SIP. To be fair, I didn’t recognize the places either.

  9. @ Ryan: glad you are also a facebook whore, although in this weather there is not a whole lot else to do except work, make snowmen, watch DVDs and drink whiskey from the bottle. (Is “Burried” a Canadian spelling?) 🙂

  10. I hear slaves shovelling the snow in the dark as I type. 2 years with no snow, and now this ? Global unwarming? Jamieson 17.20 on Tuesday 29 Jan 2008.

    We got beanies, gloves and down-filled jackets hanging from post to post.

    However, I am designed for cold weather, furry body, orange beard, electric blanket(s), huge coat.

    I would not ever ride my bike on this ice in Suzhou. Even with the helmet.


  11. No taxis anywhere..It took me an hour to get back from the Blue Marlin last night. Drunk, Cold and Alone.. I slipped on my ass about 8 times and bemused locals learnt the true meaning of $%#%%#!!! $#%&*!!

  12. Do you guys have heaters in Suzhou? My Chinese geography is failing me right now and I forget if Suzhou is north or south of the Yangtze. In Fuzhou it always got quite cold in the winter. In actuality, it never really got that cold, but when nobody has a heater 40 degrees farenheit feels a lot colder than it really is. In a way the winters are almost more mild up North because everybody has heaters.

  13. None of the central radiators you get up north. I run an electric radiator and two wall mounted aircons to keep warm… not exactly doing my bit to conserve power, but hey.

  14. @Rebekah: Haha, wasn’t an extra “r”, but a missing hyphen… no idea why it didn’t save with the post the first time.

    @Jamison: I’m also well built for cold weather – complete with added insulation – but it doesn’t stop me from hatting the frackin’ cold. (please excuse my use of Battlestar Galactica vernacular – I’ve been stuck inside for nearly a week with only it and Grey’s Anatomy to watch)

    @Ben: S. of the long river and yup – similar to Fuzhou in that there’s no centralized heating. Sux.

    @Nick: Show me an enviro-friendly way to avoid frostbite and I’ll show you energy conservation – until then, I’m staying warm, thank you very much! 😉 How’s the ass by the way?

  15. Isn’t the line of demarcation the Yellow River? I might be wrong- when I lived in Lianyungang (Jiangsu) our fancy laowai apartments were heated but little else was…and man it got cold there. My students were practically unable to write because it was too cold to remove their gloves. But then again I’m from California and am about as soft as it gets when it comes to the cold.

  16. Pingback: Moving Beyond CCTV9 | A China Blog on Suzhou Expat Life | The Humanaught

  17. Me and my family were living in Suzhou when the big snow fall happened. We couldn’t get out of SIP as there were no taxis running. However, the company bus still ran to get us all to work where about 75 of us ended up on the roof with sheets of plywood, pushing the snow to the edges and throwing it off the building. It was fun but also frightening as there was at least 30cm of snow on a building rated for 10cm max! Thankfully the plant did close for a couple of days. The highways were treacherous as there are no snowplows in Suzhou. The army was brought in to shovel bridges. It was an amazing sight to see local workers sweeping the snow from the streets with their straw brooms. I have some photos of this. Being from Ontario, Canada where we take snow removal equipment for granted, it was hard to fathom the fact that there are no plows. Some of the highways were cleared using huge frontend loaders, but then they would leave these big piles of snow right in the driving lanes. If you’ve ever ridden in a taxi in Suzhou or anywhere in China, you know that lane changes are a hair raising experience without a road hazard present. All in all winter in Suzhou was beautiful and thankfully short as it did get quite cold.

  18. @Roger: Also being from Ontario, I used to laugh at the news out of Atlanta or some place like that when they would get a few cm of snow and the city would be in chaos. Seeing it first hand was an experience for sure.

  19. Pingback: CNYE in China Lite | A China Blog on Suzhou Expat Life

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *