Tue, February 17, 2009
China > Mainland

Long-expected snow blankets Beijing

2009-02-17 01:33:51 GMT2009-02-17 09:33:51 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

A resident living in Shijingshan district clears snow on the road in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 17, 2009. Beijing welcomes its first snow after the Spring Festival.(Xinhua Photo)

Residents living in Shijingshan district clear snow on the road in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 17, 2009.(Xinhua Photo)

Snow is seen on roofs in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 17, 2009.(Xinhua Photo)

A car covered by snow is seen alongside a road in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 17, 2009.(Xinhua Photo)

BEIJING, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Snow flakes quietly fell in Beijing's downtown areas while people were still in sleep early Tuesday morning, driving the temperature below zero.

This was the second precipitation since last winter following a drizzle enhanced by artificial rain last Thursday, but the rain was not enough to end the lingering drought.

The Beijing Meteorological Bureau forecast the snow would continue till Tuesday night and the daytime of Wednesday. The highest temperature on Tuesday would be around one degree Celsius.

The snow brought difficulties to the rush-hour traffic. The Beijing Communication Radio said there were more accident reports Tuesday morning than normal days.

The snow has been longed for, since the urban area of Beijing had not seen a flake for the whole winter, though sporadic flurries fell in some suburban areas on Dec. 10 and 23, according to the city's meteorological bureau.

The capital was enduring its longest drought in 38 years, according to the bureau's records. The city had not seen rain since Oct. 24.

The bureau said the northern part of the city would have the largest amount of snow, but did not forecast the snow's effect on easing the drought.

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