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Trains stopped in their tracks

[ 2010-01-05 13:03]     字号 [] [] []  
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Falling mercury causes power shortages; cold spell to continue

The heaviest snowfall to hit northern China in nearly six decades continued to snarl traffic yesterday, stranding thousands of passengers on railways and at airports.

The unusually harsh winter weather also caused coal shortages, forcing some provinces to cut power supplies.

Though snow stopped in most parts in the north by yesterday morning, heavy snowfall and biting cold continued in parts of Inner Mongolia and Shandong.

The heavy snow led to the delay of 13 passenger trains in Inner Mongolia, and forced the closure of all four airports in Shandong, as well as 30 state highways in northern China.

Beijing Capital International Airport, with more than 1,400 flights scheduled to take off yesterday, reported severe disruptions. By 4 pm, 485 flights took off, 690 flights were delayed for an average of 90 minutes, and 98 flights were canceled.

A train from Harbin ran into snow more than 2 meters high in Inner Mongolia on Sunday and 1,400 passengers were evacuated only yesterday.

In southern China, heavy fog and low visibility forced some airports to close.

With people turning up the heat indoors to fight the extreme cold across the country, many provinces are reducing electricity supplies due to the shortage of coal.

In the next 10 days, temperatures could fall to around -32 C in the far north and another cold wave will sweep the region around Friday, bringing gales and severe cold, the national forecaster said.


1. How long has it been since northern China experienced snowfall this heavy?

2. Why did a train from Harbin strand 1,400 passengers?

3. What will the weather be like in the next 10 days?


1. This week’s snowfall was the heaviest to hit northern China in six decades.

2. The train from Harbin ran into snow more than 2 meters high in Inner Mongolia. The snow buried the train cars, stranding 1,400 passengers until they were helped to safety yesterday.

3. Another cold wave is expected to sweep northern China by Friday, bringing gales and more severe cold, according to forecasters.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Trains stopped in their tracks

About the broadcaster:

Trains stopped in their tracks

Renee Haines is an editor and broadcaster at China Daily. Renee has more than 15 years of experience as a newspaper editor, radio station anchor and news director, news-wire service reporter and bureau chief, magazine writer, book editor and website consultant. She came to China from the United States.