Chinese capital closes highways after heavy snowfall

  • World
  • Wednesday, 21 Feb 2024

Workers clear snow off a pedestrian road following snowfall in Beijing, China February, 21, 2024. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

BEIJING (Reuters) -Authorities in Beijing shut some highways on Wednesday after heavier-than-expected snowfall hit the Chinese capital, part of a cold spell sweeping many parts of the country this week.

With freezing rain and snow expected to last until Monday, officials boosted public transport arrangements in the sprawling city of nearly 22 million and shut eight highways, state broadcaster CCTV said.

Mountainous areas were still receiving snowfall, though it had stopped in urban areas.

"I feel like the few days after the snow are a bit inconvenient because the road is kind of slippery and drivers are not that considerate," said Beijing resident Kylie Chen.

Although she liked seeing the snow, it complicated her work commute, as she had to walk on sludgy roads, the 23-year-old added.

Tuesday evening's snowfall lasted longer and was heavier than forecast after a confluence of humid air currents from the south and a cold mass of air moving slowly eastward, an observatory official told the Beijing Daily newspaper.

With flexible work hours offered by some employers, some people could spend more time taking in the scenery, said another Beijing resident, Li Qiuhao.

"(The company) allows us to choose our work time more freely," the 31-year-old added. "It means that we can avoid some commuting problems and traffic problems."

The bad weather forced the closure of almost 200 stretches of road nationwide, CCTV said.

The National Meteorological Center is predicting subzero temperatures in the coming week for numerous areas.

(Reporting by Liz Lee and Alessandro Diviggiano; Editing by Stephen Coates and Clarence Fernandez)

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