178 flights canceled in Beijing, other airports shut
Beijing: Unexpected snow blanketed North China on the weekend, causing havoc for road traffic, delaying airline flights and surprising people who believed spring had finally arrived.
In Beijing, the 10th snowfall since November dropped 4 to 10 centimeters of snow on most parts of the capital by 11 am, the Beijing municipal observatory said.
It came as a surprise to many Beijingers who enjoyed the first rays of spring on Friday, when the temperature rose above 10 C.
A spokesman with the Beijing Capital International Airport said that by 6 pm on Sunday, 143 flights had been delayed and 178 flights cancelled because of the bad weather.
"The departure of delegates from the full session of China's top legislature on Sunday has added pressure at the airport," he said.
Meanwhile, the snowstorm caused traffic jams and long delays on the city's roads.
The cold snap also brought snow and chilly temperatures to other parts of the country.
The airport in Changchun, capital of Jilin province, was closed on Sunday, as were most highways in Jilin and Liaoning provinces.
Northerly winds brought sandstorms to southern parts of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and parts of Gansu province, along with heavy rain to eastern and southern China.
Fujian experienced heavy rainfall and its lowest temperature in 50 years. Most parts of the province experienced a temperature drop of 8 to 11 C. The temperature in most cities was lower than 4 C and it dropped below zero in a few cities, including Sanming and Longyan.
The national meteorological center forecast that the cold snap would bring more rain to northeastern, central and eastern China on Monday.
Snowstorms will hit eastern Inner Mongolia autonomous region, as well as parts of Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces, while rain will drench the southern part of North China, areas to the south of the Yellow River and eastern parts of Southwest China.
Meanwhile, sun has been forecast for Beijing this week, bringing warmer temperatures back to the capital, the municipal observatory said.
He Lifu, chief forecaster from the National Meteorological Center, said the weather might seem unusual, but snow has previously been recorded in April and even in mid-May in Beijing. On average, it snows two days in March, He said.
The snow would assist the growth of winter wheat, he added.
On Sina Weibo, a microblogging service run by China's portal giant sina.com, many netizens said the snow added a romantic atmosphere to White Day, which falls on March 14 and is when men give gifts to their lovers in Japan, South Korea and Chinese Taiwan province.
"I thought I would not be able to see snow until next winter but it came back, making White Day perfect," said a netizen who called herself Lisa Liu.(China Daily)