BEIJING -- Snow flakes quietly fell in Beijing's downtown areas while people were still in sleep early Tuesday morning, driving the temperature below zero.
A snow-covered car is seen on a road in Beijing, February 17, 2009. The Chinese capital embraced the first snow of 2009 early Tuesday morning. [CFP]
This was the second precipitation since last winter following a drizzle initiated 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 December 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 October 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.