Snow disrupts air, highway travel in North China

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Xinhua News Agency, Mar.4,2007

Heavy snowfall in many parts of north China on Saturday night and Sunday caused some airports to close temporarily and affected highway traffic with many Chinese on the way home after their Spring Festival holidays.

About 1,000 passengers were stranded at Taoxian International Airport in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, when it closed at 8 a.m. Sunday in heavy snow.

By 10 a.m., five outbound and 20 inbound flights had been delayed, with the airport still closed as snow continued to fall, airport sources said.

Nine out of 11 expressways in the province have been closed, according to provincial authorities. Only certain stretches of two expressways were still open.

Binhai International Airport in Tianjin was closed at 7 a.m. Sunday and more than 20 flights have been delayed, according to airport sources. Expressways through the city were also shut down.

The city reported 25 to 32 millimeters of rain and snow by Sunday morning. Baita Airport in Hohhot, capital of Inner Mongolia, had to be shut down between 6 p.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. Sunday as 20 centimeters of snow fell in the region.

The central meteorological observatory is forecasting rain for most parts of north China over the next two days.

Meteorologists said the rain and snow, the heaviest this winter, would help alleviate a severe drought which has plagued many parts of north China in the past few months.

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