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November 26, 2009

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Fog creates snarl in air, road traffic

AIR and land transportation ground to a halt as heavy fog blanketed southwest China's Sichuan Province yesterday, forcing airports and expressways to close. Beijing and other parts of China were also affected.

The Sichuan cities hit included Chengdu, the provincial capital, Dazhou, Leshan and Meishan.

In Chengdu, the Shuangliu International Airport closed at about 6:50am, as visibility fell below 50 meters. It resumed operations at around 11am when the fog dispersed.

During the closure, 105 flights to and from Shuangliu were delayed and more than 10,000 passengers were stranded. Some of the incoming flights were forced to land at airports in nearby Chongqing and Kunming.

At least four expressways, including the routes between Chengdu and Dujiangyan and between Dazhou and Chongqing, were closed in the morning.

Meteorologists said the fog was caused by a combination of high humidity near the ground and a clearing sky, typical of Sichuan weather in early winter.

Beijing blanketed

Beijing was also blanketed in fog early yesterday.

Prior to 9am, visibility at the Capital International Airport was around 50 meters, rising to 500 meters after 10am. Many flights were delayed, said a north China aviation control department spokesman, without revealing the exact number.

Tianjin sections of the Beijing-Tianjin-Tanggu and Beijing-Shanghai expressways were closed in the morning because of the fog.

Meteorologists in Beijing believed the fog spread to the city from adjacent Hebei Province.

In northwest China's Xinjiang, more than 4,000 passengers were stranded yesterday at the airport in Urumqi, the regional capital, as some 132 domestic and international flights were canceled or delayed due to the heavy fog.

In east China's Shandong Province, heavy fog delayed some 40 flights and closed a number of highways yesterday. About 30 of those flights took off later and almost all the affected highways had reopened to traffic by 5pm.

Conditions are expected to improve today with the arrival of cold air in north China.


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