At least one person was killed and 20 injured as heavy snow hit central China, disrupting flights at airports and forcing highways and schools to shut.

The National Meteorological Centre had forecast blizzards in parts of Shanxi, Shaanxi, Henan, Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces from Wednesday to Thursday night.

Up to 30cm of snow was predicted to fall.

In Hefei in Anhui, tree branches and the roofs of several bus shelters collapsed under the weight of the snow, killing one person and injuring more than 20 on Thursday morning.

Footage from the state broadcaster CCTV showed injured people who had been waiting for buses at one of the affected stops. Many looked dazed and had bloodied faces.

Xiong Chen, a Hefei traffic police officer, had to climb on top of a bus to hold up a fallen cable brought down by the weight of snow on one road so vehicles could pass under it, reported.

Across central China, traffic was disrupted, with 30 high-speed trains passing through Xian in Shaanxi province suspended.

Trains from Shanghai to Beijing, Tianjin and Xian were also cancelled, China National Radio reported.

Two airports – Qufu Airport in Jining, Shandong province and Xiguan Airport in Fuyang, Anhui province – were shut because of the extreme weather.

Four other air hubs in Xian, Hefei, Zhengzhou and Nanjing, suffered massive delays, according to the civil aviation industry website

Several sections of highways in Jiangxi, Anhui, Jiangsu and Henan provinces were closed or had traffic controls imposed as a result of the snow.

Education authorities in Anhui and Jiangsu issued notices allowing schools to be flexible in terms of class hours or to even close in view of the heavy snow forecast up to Friday, the China News Service reported.