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Strong winds sweep through Xinjiang

(Xinhua)

16:51, March 30, 2012

URUMQI, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Strong winds have blown across northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region since Friday morning, knocking down billboards, blocking roads and depriving local communities of electricity.

An orange wind alert was issued by the regional meteorological center, with winds blowing at speeds of at least 80 km per hour forecast for the suburbs of the capital city of Urumqi, the center said.

Downtown Urumqi has been hit by winds blowing at 60 km per hour since 4 a.m. Friday. Fences marking special lanes for buses in several areas of Urumqi were knocked down and traffic in the lanes was suspended.

The strong winds also damaged power lines, causing several blocks in Urumqi to lose power.

North Xinjiang experienced winds of up to 60 km per hour Friday, and a sandstorm has been forecast for southern Xinjiang, the center said.

Chinese meteorological authorities use a four-tier wind alert system. Orange is the second-highest level, second only to red and followed by yellow and blue.

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