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Beijing, Hebei province brace for forecast snow

By Du Juan in Beijing and Zhang Yu in Shijiazhuang | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-14 09:40
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Residents in Beijing enjoy the first snow of the winter at the Summer Palace on Tuesday. [Photo by Jiang Dong/China Daily]

Despite Beijing's meteorological observatory upgrading its blizzard warning level to orange — the second-highest — on Tuesday night, severe snow and high winds failed to arrive in the capital on Wednesday.

A total of 2.1 millimeters of snow fell in Beijing from 5 am to 3 pm on Wednesday, as various departments took measures to ensure the safety of the public.

"I received several text messages from the city government to alert us about the coming snow late on Tuesday evening, which prepared me," said Gao Yingying, an office worker in Beijing.

For potential traffic congestion during rush hour, her company let employees go home earlier than usual, Gao said.

"In fact, I didn't see too much traffic on Wednesday morning, which was pretty surprising. Usually, bad weather brings terrible traffic."

The city's transport commission said the smooth traffic on Wednesday morning was partially due to the fact that schools had been suspended for the day by the education authority.

"I received a notice from my daughter's teacher at around 11 pm on Tuesday," said Guan Shuang, a mother of a primary school student in Beijing.

"My girl had a full day of online classes on Wednesday. All the Chinese, math, art and music teachers gave courses to students online.

"I think it's good to have courses online because kids can easily get cold on days such as this. The schools have taken measures swiftly," she said.

The capital's meteorological observatory is still forecasting heavy snow until Friday.

The city's transport commission also prepared for heavy snow. By 2 pm Wednesday, Beijing Subway had added 174 more trains.

In neighboring Hebei province, the meteorological bureau renewed its yellow alert for blizzards at 5 pm on Wednesday, forecasting snowstorms from Wednesday evening until Thursday night in the cities of Baoding, Langfang, Cangzhou, Hengshui, Xingtai and Handan.

In some of the places, the depth of newly falling snow could be 10 to 15 centimeters, according to the Hebei Meteorological Service.

The cities have taken measures to cope with blizzards should they arrive and prevent related disasters caused by the snow.

In Langfang, more than 2,000 sanitation workers and over 50 vehicles for snow clearing have been readied. The city has also prepared more than 600 metric tons of snow-melting agent.

In Hengshui's Taocheng district, schools switched to online learning from Wednesday afternoon until Friday, according to the district's education bureau.

In Baoding, traffic police enhanced patrols at key road intersections to minimize the impact of the snow and ensure the safety of residents.

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