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Strong winds bring dust to Beijing


11:03, March 10, 2013

BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Strong winds dispersed Beijing's lingering haze, but ushered in dust storms and a sharp temperature drop on Saturday.

The Beijing Meteorological Station Saturday morning forecast that strengthening winds would bring strong breezes to gales with dust to Beijing, causing temperatures to drop 7 to 9 degree Celsius.

Around 11:40 a.m. Saturday, gales blowing at speeds of up 30 meters per second tore off part of the roof of the T3 terminal of the Beijing Capital International Airport, the airport reported on its official Sina Weibo account.

The airport arranged emergency repairs, and operations proceeded as usual.

This is the second bout of dusty weather to hit Beijing this year, following the first on Feb. 28.

The wind and dusty weather changed the capital's major air pollutant component from PM2.5, airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, to PM10.

The average density of PM10 rose sharply starting from 9 a.m. Saturday, with the peak density reaching 1,000 mg per square meter around noon in western parts of downtown Beijing.

The capital's air quality was measured at moderate to dangerous levels, with inhalable particles as the major pollutants on Saturday, according to an air quality report released by the environmental monitoring center of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.

Heavy winds and dust also affected regions across northern China, including Liaoning, Shandong and Hebei provinces, and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Tianjin Municipality.

Fierce wind damaged power lines in a district in the Liaoning provincial capital of Shenyang, causing a 4-hour power failure to nearly 2,000 households. The city's power supply resumed at around 5 p.m..

The wind also blew off ceilings of a factory in Jinzhou City of Liaoning, which hit a minibus at 1:45 p.m. and injured four passengers.

Strong winds also made it harder to contain the forest fire in Mount. Tai, a World Heritage site in Shandong. No casualties have been reported from the blaze.

In Tianjin, all trains running on Line 9 of the light rail transit system were suspended due to risks posed by the wind and dust.

In Tianjin Binhai International Airport, a plane hit the boarding bridge slightly at noon as the gust was blowing at a speed of 27 to 29 meters per second. The airport's flight operations were not affected.

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