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Snow in Beijing, but drought fight still on
By Wang Qian (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-02-18 07:39

Beijing yesterday received its first snow of the season, fulfilling many people's wish but creating problems for pedestrians and increasing the number of vehicular accidents.

The second precipitation this winter drove the mercury down to -1 C even during the day, the Beijing Meteorological Bureau said. More snowfall has been forecast for today.

The snow created difficulties for drivers during morning and evening rush hours, and Beijing Communication Radio reported more than normal number of accidents.

Zhang Qiang, deputy director of the Beijing Weather Modification Command Center, said artificial means were used to increase the volume of snow in order to combat the drought. A total of 426 cigarette-size silver iodide sticks were seeded in the clouds from 28 weather rocket launch bases in the city, Zhang said.

Fighting drought

Yesterday's snowfall in Beijing, and mild rain expected in the drought-hit areas in the next two days will push down temperatures in some parts of Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) said.

That could help the growth of crops, the Ministry of Agriculture said yesterday.

More relief, however, is on the way for the drought-hit areas because "three showers have been forecast in the next two weeks", said Zhai Panmao, director of NMC's department of forecasting services and disaster mitigation. "But the situation in March may not be good though weather conditions are still under study."

Figures released by the Office of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters showed about 84 million mu (5.6 million hectares) was under the grip of the drought till Monday, leaving about 4.64 million people and 2.48 million heads of livestock facing water shortage.

Since Feb 6, the government has spent more than 4 billion yuan ($588 million), and employed more than 14.5 million people and 276,000 vehicles to fight the drought.

(China Daily 02/18/2009 page2)