Tourists delighted with Beijing snowfall

November 2nd, 2009 - 11:28 am ICT by IANS  

Shaan Beijing, Nov 2 (IANS) Tourists to the Chinese capital enjoyed the artificially-induced snowfall as bus routes to the city’s suburbs were suspended.
In Xiangshan mountain on the outskirts of Beijing, a tourist attraction famous for red maple leaves in autumn, visitors were delighted, Xinhua reported.

“I am so lucky to see the picturesque landscape,” said a tourist from southeastern Fujian Province where snow is rare.

“The fiery-red maple leaves were much more beautiful against the backdrop of the falling snow.”

Snowfall hit road and air traffic.

Five bus routes to the mountainous areas at Beijing’s suburbs had been suspended for safety concerns, the city’s bus company said.

“Snowfall and wet roads will definitely cause traffic jam,” taxi driver Xia said Sunday.

The snow delayed 200 flights at the Beijing Capital International Airport Sunday, according to the airport company. Snowfall at the airport area was 17.2 mm.

The airport has activated an emergency plan to handle the stranded passengers.

“I have been waiting for three hours in the airport’s departure lounge and another four hours aboard the plane,” said a man surnamed Cao, sitting in his seat on a plane heading for Wuhan City.

“I did not expect that the snow would have brought me such big trouble,” he added.

Beijing’s first snow this season started in the early hours Sunday and got heavier in the morning, blanketing most of the city, and leaving tree branches broken and damaging electric wires.

The heavy snow broke down Beijing’s electricity distribution grid 60 times Sunday, causing blackouts in the districts of Changping, Shunyi County, Chaoyang and Haidian.

Beijing Weather Modification Office said they had used artificial means to increase the snow to ease the drought.

“We won’t miss any opportunity of artificial precipitation since Beijing is suffering from the lingering drought,” said Zhang Qiang, who is in charge of the office.

“We have used a total of 186 doses of silver iodide since 8 p.m. Saturday,” she said.

Shanghai Municipal Meteorological Observatory forecast a temperature drop of 14 degrees Celsius.

Strong winds and snowy weather also affected some other parts of north and east China.

In eastern Shandong Province, passenger shipping service between Yantai and Dalian cities were suspended Sunday due to the cold front and strong winds.

Snowstorms lashed northeastern Jilin Province, collapsing trees and disrupting flights.

In Yanji City, more than 5,455 hectares of crops have been damaged by the blizzard.

Shaanxi Province in the northwest, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in the north, Jiangsu Province in the east also reported drastic drops in temperature.

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