Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Man-made snow hits Beijing

Snow covered much of Beijing on Sunday and according to Xinhua, it was all due to man-made efforts. Despite there already being predictions of snow fall in the early hours of Sunday, the state news agency claimed that it was the pumping of silver iodide rockets into the sky at 37 locations around the city that brought Beijing's second bout of snow in a week.

According to Xinhua more than three thousand snow removal trucks and road sweepers were deployed to help clear the snow from roads and pavements. In some areas the snow was no deeper than 5 cm though some parts of the city were more affected than others. By midday most routes were clear and the only signs of the precipitation was the large mounds of snow swept to the sides of the road. Transport services were barely affected and Xinhua reported only 18 bus routes suspended, mostly services connecting the city center and the suburbs.

For many the snow brought great excitement with hundreds flocking to parks across the city. Jingshan Park which give panoramic views over the Forbidden City and much of Beijing was crowded with photographers and sightseers eager to see the snow covered city from a high vantage point. And nearer to the ground the nearby frozen Qianhai Lake attracted many people. Some built snow-rabbits on the ice while others engaged in snowball fights or simply jumped for joy with all the excitement.

Beijing like many areas across northern China is suffering from severe drought conditions. In many places it has not rained for more than three months. With snow reported in Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi and Sha'anxi, Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang, Hunan, Beijing and Tianjin there will be some relief even if temperatures plummeted. In Beijing day time temperatures topped -1°C on Sunday dropping to as low as -14°C at night.

The outlook for the week remains uncertain although Beijing is expected to warm slightly seeing temperatures as high as 8°C by the end of the week.

tvnewswatch, Beijing, China

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