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Cold spell brings blizzard, freezing rain to north China

(Xinhua)

14:06, November 04, 2012

Tourists shelter from the sleet under umbrellas as as they walk near the Tian'anmen Square in Beijing, capital of China, on Nov. 4, 2012. The capital city had witnessed snowfall and sleet since Saturday night as cold current swept north China and dropped temperature. (Xinhua/Liu Changlong)

BEIJING, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- Beijing authorities released a citywide orange alert and regional red alert concerning blizzards early on Sunday morning as a cold spell swept across northern China.

China has a four-tier color-coded snow warning system: red, orange, yellow and blue, red being the most serious.

By 10 a.m. on Sunday, the capital had received an average daily precipitation of over 58 mm, a post-1951 record for the city during China's Nov.-March winter period, according to the Beijing Meteorological Center.

In the Fenghuangling region of Haidian District, the snowfall has lasted for over 40 hours and brought the maximal precipitation to 96 mm.

"With a complicated distribution of precipitation, this process is bringing greatly different effects to citizens living in various regions of such a a large city," said Sun Jisong, the center's chief forecaster.

The west of Beijing has mainly received blizzards, while the city's eastern urban areas have been lashed with freezing rain and snow, said Sun.

Following the blizzard warnings, Beijing also released a citywide icy road alert and orange alert for its western regions.

Beijing traffic authorities have started the highest level of traffic safeguard plan in snowy weather to ease tailbacks and close some expressway sections.

The National Meteorological Center said on Saturday that Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Shanxi and the mountainous areas of western Beijing will see blizzards as the cold wave moves eastward.
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