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December 16, 2009

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Road, air fallout as mercury plummets

TEMPERATURES plummeted in Beijing and some Chinese provinces yesterday, causing flight delays and highway closures.

The temperature dropped below freezing and strong winds hit Beijing, said an official of the municipal meteorology bureau.

"It became freezing very quickly. My ears felt frozen outside," said a Beijing pedestrian, Lin Jiao.

The temperature was expected to drop to minus 10 degrees Celsius in the capital by Friday, but it would rise again after the weekend, experts said.

The airport in Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi Province, was closed at 9am due to snow, said an official at the airport.

Almost 1,000 passengers were stranded.

Snow also closed nine highways in the province, said the provincial highway administration.

Snow and rain began late on Monday in east China's Jiangsu Province and were expected to last the next two days, according to the provincial meteorology bureau.

Cold wind arrived with rain in south China's Guangdong Province. The temperature was lower than 5 degrees in some cities, the provincial meteorology bureau said.

A new front of cold air would arrive on Friday and Saturday, experts said.

The southeastern Fujian Province also experienced a cold snap and this weather is expected to influence the province until next Monday. The lowest temperature in Fujian would be minus 5.

The temperature in Shanghai is forecast to drop more than 8 degrees and the minimum to reach minus 6 degrees at weekends, according to the city's meteorological bureau.

In east China's Anhui Province, it began to snow late on Monday and the snowfall is expected to continue today.

The minimum would be minus 8 degrees on Friday and Saturday, the provincial meteorology bureau said.

A traffic policeman died on duty in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province on Monday in the snowy weather.

The policeman, Li Muduo, 46, was hit by a vehicle traveling at high speed at 1:30pm when he was dealing with a traffic accident on a highway in Shangluo City, police said.

Li's colleague, Wang Yudong, was seriously injured and taken to hospital. Wang is now in a stable condition after medical treatment.

The driver has been detained and further investigations are underway.


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