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Cold snap brings sandstorms
By Zhang Feng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-19 00:04

The warm spring in North China will be interrupted today with the predicted arrival of cold air and spread of sandstorms.

The worst sandstorms so far this year brought by strong northerly winds hit Gansu Province, Inner Mongolia and Ningxia Hui autonomous regions from noon time yesterday.

A cyclist covers the face from the dust as the sandstorm attacks the city of Hohhot, Capital of North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regian April 18, 2005. [newsphoto]
According to weather experts, many areas of Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Hebei provinces and western regions of Northeast China will also experience dust storms today and tomorrow, though much lighter.

Yet there is slim chance that Beijing will be affected by low level dust storms, said He Lifu, an expert from the China Meteorologic Administration.

Although different areas will see dust affected weather of varying degrees, a sharp drop in temperature will be experienced across the entire region, said He.

In North, Northwest, and Northeast China, a five-to-seven scale wind will bring a reduction of around 5 to 10 C, but in some areas, the drop may be as big as 12 C.

The maximum temperature in Beijing will be 18 C today, compared with 25 C today.

Increasing desertification is the main reason for the frequent sandstorms in North China in recent years, He noted.

However, compared with the years from 1999 to 2002, 2005 has so far seen far fewer sand storms, today's being just the third North China has experienced this spring.

One reason this year has seen fewer sandstorms is that there was a lot of rain and snow in Northern China last winter, providing favourable conditions for spring vegetation.

In Central and Eastern China, the cold air and wind will bring no dust but much rain over the next two days.

Drizzle, rain, sleet and even snow will also visit places in West, Northwest, North and Northeast China.

Beijing will also see drizzle overnight and into this morning.

He added that because spring farming has not yet started in most areas of North China, the sandstorms and cold winds will not have a significant affect on agriculture.

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