Highways closed amid spring snowstorms in NE China

14:39, March 15, 2010      

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Snowstorms have forced the closure of many highways and roads in northeast Chinese regions Monday, bringing down temperatures just as people were expecting warmer spring temperatures.

At least 17 highways had been put under traffic control in Liaoning Province since Sunday when snow began to fall in many parts of the country's old industrial base, according to the Highway Administration of Liaoning.

The long distance bus service linking Shenyang, the Liaoning provincial capital, to other localities, has been suspended due to unfavorable road conditions but flight and rail services continue to run.

Icy roads and heavy fog have affected the western part of Liaoning, delaying resumption of traffic services, according to the administration.

The weather forecast said Monday that temperatures may plummet by up to 10 degrees Celsius over the next two days in some cities.

"We worked overnight to clear the street. It's the largest snowfall I've ever seen," said Ren Jianguo, who has been trying to sweep away the snow along with more than 15,000 sanitation workers in Changchun, capital of Jilin Province bordering Liaoning, since Sunday afternoon.

Some sedans got stuck in thick snow and more people took public transport or even walked to their work Monday morning.

The airport in Changchun was closed at 4 p.m. Sunday, halting nearly 100 flights and leaving a large number of passengers stranded. Four major highways were still under traffic control.

It is predicted that the cold weather will continue, reducing the temperature by up to 12 degrees Celsius in some areas.

Average precipitation was 14.7 mm by Monday with the maximum of 20 mm registered in central and southern Jilin, according to the provincial meteorological station.

Beijing also suffered from the snowy weather, which delayed 136 departure flights and a further 184 flights out of and into Beijing were canceled as of 6:30 p.m. Sunday, the Beijing Capital International Airport said in a statement.

Beijing received an average precipitation of 10.6 mm over the weekend, with the largest recorded being 17.9 mm in its northern suburbs.

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