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Blizzards hit northern China, 2 Japanese tourists killed

11-05-2012 10:44 BJT

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China has hiked the national alert to the second-highest level on snowstorms that are expected to hit northern regions over the next few days. Heavy snow has hit central and eastern parts of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, northern and western parts of Hebei Province, and most parts of Beijing.

Fire fighters clear snow on Shenjing section of Xuanhua-Datong expressway in Zhangjiakou,
north China's Hebei Province, Nov. 4, 2012. (Xinhua/Xu Leiyun)

The National Meteorological Center issued an alert on a cold snap in east China, which is expected to bring gales and drop temperatures by 6 to 8 degree Celsius in Inner Mongolia’s east and most eastern coastal areas over the coming two days.

Temperatures suddenly dropped to minus 13 degrees in Baotou City of Inner Mongolia Friday morning. Heavy snow forced major highways to shut down, leaving only national highway 110 working, but with constant slowdowns due to ice.

All transportation out of the city’s two major long-distance bus stations were cancelled. The Local meteorological department predicts more snow will hit central and eastern Inner Mongolia, with temperatures predicted to drop by 10 to 15 degrees Celsius.

Snow also hit Beijing early Sunday. This is the first snowfall of the winter in the capital city, which brought low temperatures.

Heavy snow caused an emergency closing of the Beijing-Tibet Highway, Beijing-Xinjiang Highway and Zhangjiakou-Chengde Highway.

Highway staff have started clearing the snow.

Deng Jiaqi, staff of toll station, Zhangjiakou-Chengde Highway, said, “Our crews will keep cleaning the snow as fast as possible. The traffic police will also help to clean the road.”

The cold snap is expected to last until Monday. Temperatures in some northern areas will drop by more than 10 degrees Celsius. Traffic departments suggest that residents keep outdoor activities to a minimum.

Vehicles are stranded on Shenjing section of Xuanhua-Datong expressway in Zhangjiakou, north
China's Hebei Province, Nov. 4, 2012.  (Xinhua/Xu Leiyun)

Vehicles are stranded on Shenjing section of Xuanhua-Datong expressway in Zhangjiakou, north
China's Hebei Province, Nov. 4, 2012.(Xinhua/Xu Leiyun)


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