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Beijing's big dry set to stretch the record

01-31-2011 14:44 BJT

BEIJING, Jan. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- Sunday was the capital city's 84th snow-free day this winter, making it the longest winter period without snow in Beijing since records began 60 years ago.

An agricultural expert holds a bunch of withered wheat in Beijing, capital of
China, Jan. 28, 2011. Beijing broke a 60-year record for the latest date for its
first snowfall of the season on Saturday. Since 1951, the latest record of the
first snowfall in Beijing was in 1984, when it arrived on Jan. 29.
(Xinhua/Ren Zhenglai)

And there is no sign of snow falling in Beijing in the next 10 days, which means the city is unlikely to enjoy a "white" Chinese New Year, which falls on Feb 3, according to local meteorologists.

However, Beijing residents can expect warmer weather for the start of the Spring Festival with the temperature rising to 7 C during the day, said Sun Jisong, a leading forecaster with Beijing meteorological bureau.

Since 1951, the record for the latest snowfall in Beijing was set in 1984, when it came on Jan 29. The city has now surpassed that record.

Chen Dagang, a senior expert at the climate center of the Beijing meteorological bureau, predicted that Beijing will not see snow until the second half of February, the Beijing News reported on Sunday.

"A whole snow-free winter has never happened in Beijing according to the records we have kept since 1951," he said.

The dry weather has lingered in the capital for more than three months, with no effective rainfall since Oct 25.

"I hate this cold and dry winter," said Jiao Meng, a 26-year-old Beijing resident.

"The air is terribly dry. Whenever I take off my coat, I'm hit by the static electricity and my throat feels sore no matter how much water I drink," Jiao said.

Water shortages have affected 90 percent of farmland in the capital's suburban areas and about 2,250 residents in Fangshan district and Yanqing county, according to the Beijing News.

The city's meteorological, agricultural and forest departments have worked closely to monitor weather conditions and prepare drought-relief supplies in case the dry weather continues, said Wang Yi, an official with Beijing municipal office of flood control and drought relief headquarters.

The parched and windy conditions also increase the risk of fire, especially in the rural areas surrounding the capital, where straw and other inflammable materials are stored.

The fire alert has been set at the highest level, Xia Chunlei, an official with Beijing fire control bureau, told the Beijing Evening News.

The Spring Festival fireworks will mean more challenges rather than a holiday for the capital's 7,000 firemen, Xia said.

(Source: China Daily)

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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