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. Auspicious Snow Greets China For Lunar New Year

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by Staff Writers
Beijing, China (AFP) Feb 06, 2006
Snowfalls in northern China caused traffic and train snarls on Monday for many holiday-makers returning to work, but the cold snap was welcomed as an auspicious start to the Lunar New Year of the Dog.

Two millimetres (0.08 inches) of snow fell on Beijing by midday Monday, as the city dispatched 1,500 snow sweepers and hundreds of vehicles to clear the capital's roads and sidewalks, Xinhua news agency said.

However the snowfalls were far heavier than officially reported, with cars and sidewalks in some areas of the city covered in at least five centimetres of snow.

In Chinese tradition, the first snow of the new year is deemed a lucky event. Lunar New Year fell on January 29 and Monday marked the start of work for many people after a week-long official holiday.

Heavy snows in Zhengzhou, the provincial capital of central China's Henan province, delayed trains for the second time during the nation's 40-day Lunar New Year travel period when hundreds of millions of Chinese are on the move.

The Zhengzhou railway station, a central hub in China's rail system, was put on alert to ensure the safety of passengers and that the trains run on time, Xinhua said.

In eastern China's Shandong province, dozens of highways were closed due to snowfalls, other reports said.

The snow in northern China -- from the Xinjiang region in the west to the Shandong peninsula -- is expected to continue through Wednesday, the State Meteorological Bureau said.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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