BEIJING,Dec. 3 (Xinhuanet) --Meteorologists warned the first snowfall in Beijing on Friday may freeze on the road overnight and worsen the capital's traffic congestion, especially during rush hours over the weekend.
Snow started falling at about 6 am on Friday and continued into the afternoon.
"The surface temperature on Friday is above 0 C, and it will fall below zero at night, freezing the roads," said Sun Jisong, chief weather forecaster at the Beijing meteorological bureau.
Li Xiaoquan, chief meteorologist at China's weather news website, www.weather.com.cn, said the snowfall increased the air's humidity and formed fog, decreasing visibility and triggering respiratory problems.
Li asked motorists to drive slowly and people who are sensitive to air quality to avoid going outdoors.
Fog is expected on Monday and Tuesday and temperatures could drop again, according to the municipal's meteorological bureau.
The snowfall disrupted traffic during the morning rush hour and stranded flights in the capital on Friday.
Lu Yao, a 30-year-old computer engineer in Beijing, got frustrated about the slow driving in his car on Friday morning on his way to work. It took him about an hour, twice as long as usual.
Lu was lucky compared with the commuters who planned to take bus 931, 948, 892, 929 or 877 on Friday morning: the five lines were stopped because of the frozen roads, according to the Beijing Public Transport Holdings Ltd.
The company said about 40 rescue vehicles were arranged to deal with emergencies, and 100 additional buses were sent to meet the public's demand on Friday morning.
A notice released on the website of the Beijing Capital International Airport on Friday said 28 flights had been cancelled and three delayed for more than an hour by 4 pm because of the snow.
An orange-clad cleaner surnamed Li, in Beijing's Chaoyang district, said on Friday that busy days were coming at the start of the snow season.
According the city's snow removal regulations, workers should clear all the snow and ice on the streets before 10 am within a day after snowfall to guarantee smooth traffic and public safety.
Like Li, more than 1,800 cleaners in Beijing's Dongcheng district were ready to hit road for the snowy season, according to the district's environment and sanitary management center.
"We have already arranged enough people and machines to deal with the coming snowfalls. Even when heavy snow hits, our cleaners can have the road open within two hours after the snowfall," the director of the center's press and information office, surnamed Cao, said.
(Source: China Daily)