CHINA> Regional
Heavy snow in N China shuts highways to Beijing
Updated: 2009-02-19 14:37

SHENYANG/SHIJIAZHUANG -- All outbound highways were closed Thursday in Hebei, a northern province surrounding Beijing, after heavy snow fell overnight.

The provincial highway traffic police center said that all highways passing through Hebei en route to Beijing had to be closed due to icing.

Twelve highways, including one linking Beijing and Shenyang, capital of northeastern Liaoning Province, were closed by snow as of Thursday morning, according to the provincial transport department.

Shenyang Taoxian International Airport was closed from 10:15 a.m. to 11 a.m. and a flight to Beijing was delayed, according to the airport. Also, all services were suspended Thursday at Shenyang's major bus terminal.

Shanxi Province in north China issued a warning about icy roads at 8:40 a.m. after heavy snow fell Wednesday night. Major highways were closed in the province.

Hebei got its first heavy snow of this year starting Wednesday. The provincial weather bureau said the snow, generated when a cold front hit moist air flows, was enhanced by artificial seeding.

"The snow has brought moisture to the soil, which may help end the drought," said Guo Yingchun, a senior engineer of the provincial meteorological observatory.

She said that 313 cigarette-size sticks of silver iodide were seeded into clouds from Wednesday night to 8 a.m. Thursday, a procedure that made the snow a lot heavier.

Hebei forecasters said flurries would continue through Thursday night in the northern part of the province.

The Shenyang observatory forecast more heavy snow later Thursday.