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Urban flaws surface as the snow piles up

By Zhang Yuchen and He Na in Beijing and Tian Xuefei in Harbin ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-11-22 09:40:23

Urban flaws surface as the snow piles up

A heavy snowstorm hit Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province, from Saturday night to Thursday morning. During that period, the snow stopped for just 10 hours and temperatures plummeted, hitting a low of -14 C. Yang Wubin / for China Daily



Extreme weather proves a real test, report Zhang Yuchen and He Na in Beijing and Tian Xuefei in Harbin.

Just about the last thing Zhang Changhua and her family wanted to do was to act like tourists and go out into the wintry streets on a cold night in Harbin, famed for its ice festival.

Even for residents of a city inured to extreme temperatures, the recent weeklong snowfall proved massively disruptive.

However, Zhang's decision to leave home was born of necessity. People still have to work and buy daily necessities, but night replaced day for a while as the most active time in the city.

"It's just so hard to get out during the daytime, because the snow has been falling heavily all day, every day," said Zhang, a 55-year-old Harbin resident.

From Saturday night until Thursday morning, the snow stopped for just 10 hours in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province, and temperatures plummeted, hitting a low of minus 14 C.

The city was blanketed in snow 30 cm deep on average, although in some places it was 50 cm. Even long-time residents felt the rapid change in the weather was unusual, but outside the city, things were even worse, with drifts as deep as 60 cm in some areas of the province.

The severe conditions resulted in traffic snarl-ups across Heilongjiang and in the neighboring province of Jilin, where four people were killed and seven injured in a series of road accidents on Monday.

On Sunday, the National Meteorological Center issued a yellow alert, although it was downgraded to blue on Tuesday morning. In China's color-coded severe weather warning system, red indicates the most serious condition, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

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