Over 300 trapped in cars after snow blocks traffic in north China

08:34, December 24, 2010      

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More than 300 people in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region have been stuck in a traffic jam since 2 p.m. Thursday after snowstorms blocked a national road.

Heavy snow fell on Huolinguole City on Tuesday and Wednesday, accumulating in nearby mountains. Strong winds Thursday blew the snow onto one stretch of State Route 304, trapping more than 100 cars, said a spokesman with the public security bureau in Tongliao City, which administers Huolinguole.

The national road connects Arikunduleng County and Huolinguole.

More than 100 firefighters and police officers and 20 rescue cars are rushing to clear the snow and rescue the trapped people, amid extremely cold weather with temperatures 30 degrees Celsius below zero.

The snow will be cleared and traffic will resume by 11 p.m., one firefighter said.

Snowstorms have hit many parts of China in recent days.

In northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a snowslide Wednesday night crushed a truck in Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture, killing two people and injuring one other.

On Thursday, temperatures dropped markedly in most parts of north China as the region enters its coldest period of the year.

Tianjin Municipality on Thursday received its first snow this winter, forcing transport authorities to close 11 highways.

The temperature in Beijing was around six degrees below freezing Thursday morning, a drop of 12 degrees Celsius from the same time the previous day.

The meteorological station in northeastern Liaoning Province forecast the temperatures to drop there to below minus 29 on Friday.

The maritime affairs bureau in eastern Shandong Province on Thursday issued an alert urging vessels to seek harbor, as high tides caused by strong gale were forecast for the Yellow Sea areas Thursday night.

Snow and blizzard conditions were also forecast for northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

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