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Snow brings travel delays as it clears the air

中国日报网 2013-01-21 10:50

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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.

Although transportation was disrupted by the snow, air quality improved temporarily in many cities.

The pollutants in Beijing's air were significantly diminished on Sunday, and air quality in most parts of city was graded as good or slightly polluted. The concentration of PM2.5 - particles of 2.5 microns or smaller - fell to around 100 micrograms per cubic meter in most parts of the city, according to China National Environmental Monitoring Center.

By way of comparison, PM2.5 concentration reached as high as 500 micrograms per cubic meter in some parts of Beijing on Friday before the snow, when the city was shrouded in thick smog.

The capital's air quality will remain relatively good for the next few days because of the snow, according to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

About the broadcaster:

Emily Cheng is an editor at China Daily. She was born in Sydney, Australia and graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree in Media, English Literature and Politics. She has worked in the media industry since starting university and this is the third time she has settled abroad - she interned with a magazine in Hong Kong 2007 and studied at the University of Leeds in 2009.

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