Heavy snowfall swept across the capital late Sunday night, covering shrubs and plants along roads in Beijing on Tuesday, marking the start of the coldest days of the winter season.
In the capital's downtown area, snow and sleet reached their greatest density at the junction of Chaoyang and Tongzhou districts, with snow accumulation of 8 centimeters. Blizzards also hit areas in the northern and central region of China, making it the first widespread storm of 2020.
The overnight snowfall hit most parts of the city with an average precipitation of 4.3 millimeters citywide, according to the Beijing meteorological bureau.
The snowfall reduced visibility, further burdening motorists on icy roads and prompting the bureau to issue an alert. As of 4 pm on Monday, the Beijing Jishuitan Hospital had received 70 patients who tumbled and got injured in the snow.
The first snowfall of this year also forced the closure of highways, cancellation of flights and train delays in the capital.
For example, according to the Beijing Capital International Airport, 108 flights had been canceled by 1 pm.
It is expected that the snow will last until Tuesday around 8 am, affecting the provinces of Heilongjiang, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan and Hubei as well as the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, where snowfall up to 18 millimeters is forecast, said the National Metrological Center.
The center renewed a yellow alert for heavy snow on Monday afternoon, the third-highest level of the country's four-tier system.
Nationwide, highways and roads were also shut down. According to the Ministry of Transport, 131 highways and 135 sections of roads were closed in northern China as of 7:45 am on Monday.
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