Heavy snow hits thousands in China's Beijing

Heavy snow hit Beijing on Sunday, stranding thousands of passengers at the Chinese capital's main airport.

Heavy snow hits thousands in China's Beijing

Heavy snow hit Beijing on Sunday, stranding thousands of passengers at the Chinese capital's main airport and casting an unusual quiet over normally busy streets as people stayed out of the freezing weather.

More than 80 percent of flights at Beijing's Capital International Airport, the country's busiest, were cancelled or delayed, state television said, with only one of its three runways open.

Airports in the nearby cities of Tianjin, Hohhot and Shijiazhuang closed completely, the report added.

Most of the highways out of Beijing were closed too, with several centimetres (inches) of snow blanketing roads and temperatures expected to touch lows of -14 Celsius (6.80F).

The city government mobilised almost 200 snow-clearing vehicles to keep traffic moving downtown, Xinhua news agency said, and upgraded the snowstorm alert from blue to yellow.

"The yellow alert means that the snowfall is going to turn heavier," it quoted Guo Hu, Beijing's chief meteorologist, as saying.

The snow is expected to stop falling in Beijing on Monday, but temperatures are likely to drop further, with lows of around -20 Celsius (-4.00F), forecasters said.

Beijing, which over the past few years has seen little winter snow, has experienced several falls so far this season, including at least one man-made snowstorm to help ease a prolonged drought.

The bad weather is also affecting large swathes of the rest of northern and northeastern China, with snow and plunging temperatures expected to continue into the first full week of the new year, according to weather forecasts.

The southwestern provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan and the metropolis of Chongqing are expected to experience heavy fog, forecasters added.


Reuters


Last Mod: 03 Ocak 2010, 10:22
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