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Snow brings travel delays as it clears the air

(China Daily)

07:56, January 21, 2013

The freezing water in Houhai, Beijing, does not deter swimmers from diving in on Sunday. Many parts of northern China were blanketed in snow over the weekend. (China Daily/Han Haidan)

Snow, which fell in most parts of northern China over the weekend, will continue on Monday, according to weather authorities. Snow grounded flights and delayed high-speed trains, but also helped to clean the air.

The new year's first widespread snowfall started on Saturday night, covering almost all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in northern China, according to the National Meteorological Center, with snow up to 8 centimeters deep in parts of Hebei province and Beijing.

Snow will continue in these areas, with parts of the Shandong Peninsula expected to receive heavy snow, the center forecast on Sunday.

Snow helped clear the smog that shrouded many parts of North China in the past few days, the center said, but it issued a warning against potential travel risks due to snow and freezing.

Beijing Capital International Airport canceled at least 115 flights on Sunday, including 17 international flights, its website said. The airport had 48 snowplows to clear the runways, it said.

Activities at airports in Datong, Shanxi province, and Hohhot, the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, were suspended until noon on Sunday.

The normally punctual high-speed trains ran at lower speeds for safety, causing many delays.

At least 32 trains on the Beijing-Shanghai and Jinan-Qingdao high-speed railways had delays of at least five minutes on Sunday in Shandong province, according to Jinan railways bureau.

Passengers stranded at airports and railway stations complained on Sina Weibo, a popular micro-blogging platform.

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