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Cold snap sweeps China, brings snow, sharp drop of temperature
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08:49, December 05, 2008

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The strongest cold front this winter swept most parts of China on Thursday, bringing sharp drop of temperatures and snow in some areas.

From Tuesday to Thursday, snow had fallen in northwestern Xinjiang, northeastern Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces. Expressways were temporarily closed in some areas.

He Lifu, China Meteorological Administration top weather forecaster, said almost all of the country, except for Tibet Autonomous Region, had been affected by the strongest cold front this winter. Some regions recorded temperatures of minus 20 degrees Celsius.

A heavy snow fell Wednesday night and early Thursday morning in Meihekou City, Jilin Province. Snow drifts on roads were more than40 cm deep, affecting traffic.

Chinese capital Beijing also began to be hit by the cold snap on Thursday. The temperature fell to about minus 9 degrees Celsius with big wind on Thursday night.

The cold weather also made Beijing's electricity use reached a maximum of 11.2 million kw on Thursday since the beginning of the winter, the capital's power grid authorities said.

"According to our experience in previous years, the colder the weather, the more use of electricity," said a Beijing Power Company manger.

Passenger ships on routes between eastern Shandong Province and Dalian, a coastal city in Liaoning, were suspended from sailing as of 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

Snowstorm hit eastern coastal cities such as Yantai and Weihai in Shandong on Thursday night.

Southern China provinces also issued warnings to brace for the cold front. Last winter, some southern provinces such as Guangdong, had experienced a rare icy weather which almost paralyzed traffic in some areas and affected the travel of tens of thousands of people planning to go back home for the Lunar New Year.

Guangdong Meteorological Bureau forecast the cold snap would arrive in Guangdong on Friday, bringing a temperature drop of 6 to8 degrees Celsius and rain.

Lu Shan, the bureau's chief forecaster, said some areas in Guangdong would have icy weather with crops and livestock to be affected.

Quake-hit southwestern Sichuan Province was bracing for the cold weather.

Nearly ten million items of winter clothes and quilts had been allocated to affected residents, Sichuan Civil Affairs Department said on Thursday.


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