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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Late snow clears the air

By Xu Wei in Beijingand Xu Junqian in Shanghai (China Daily)

08:09, March 19, 2012

Two girls have a snowball fight at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing on Sunday. The capital was blanketed by spring snow on Sunday morning, after a day of heavy fog that grounded hundreds of flights in the north of the country. (Zhu Xingxin / China Daily)

Cold air has brought the biggest snowfall of the winter to Beijing, Tianjin and neighboring areas, and meteorological authorities are warning that temperatures could further plunge by six to 14 degrees in parts of North and East China in the next two days.

The snow, which began falling before midnight Saturday and stopped before dawn, had caused closures of more than 10 highways on Sunday morning. At the capital airport, 71 flights were delayed by de-icing or canceled as of 10 am.

Meanwhile, the national meteorological center issued a cold alert on Sunday morning, warning of strong winds and plunging temperatures in the next two days. Shandong, Henan, Hebei and Shanxi provinces are among those expected to be affected most.

The national forecaster said the cold is expected in many areas to clear the lingering fog that has shrouded much of North and East China in the past few days.

On Saturday, heavy fog shrouded Beijing before it rained and snowed, forcing local metrological authorities to issue the first yellow alert of fog in three months.

The low visibility forced the delay or cancellation of 158 flights at the capital airport and the city's PM2.5 index -particulate matter measuring 2.5 micrometers or less - also stood far above standard, showing poor air quality.

The fog dispersed on Sunday morning and the sky cleared up after the snow.

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