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China Daily Website

Harbin hit by heaviest snowfall since records began

Updated: 2013-11-20 00:48
By Zhou Huiying in Harbin ( By Zhou Huiying in Harbin)

Harbin hit by heaviest snowfall since records began

Heavy snow has disrupted the life of people in Changchun, Jilin province, since Saturday. Despite the poor weather, traffic authorities and street cleaners diligently performed their duties on Tuesday, while people volunteered to help clear the roads of snow.[Zhang Nan / Xinhua]

After nearly 60 hours of continuous snowfall, it finally stopped snowing early on Tuesday morning in Harbin, Heilongjiang province.

The snowstorm, the worst since the city began recording daily weather conditions in 1961, claimed the lives of at least four people and caused injuries to another seven in neighboring Jilin province, Xinhua News Agency reported. No casualties were reported in Heilongjiang.

The average daily snowfall in Harbin from Saturday until Tuesday morning was 11.4 mm, the highest level recorded since 1961, according to the city's weather station.

"It was a rare heavy snowfall in Harbin's history in the past 50 years, up to 50 millimeters in some regions," said Chen Li, deputy-director of Harbin Meteorological Observatory.

The heavy snowfall greatly inconvenienced locals and added a heavy workload for sanitation workers.

Dong Guiqing, a 49-year-old sanitation worker, woke up at 2 am on Tuesday and arrived at her post at 3 am.

"I have been a sanitation worker for 25 years and this is the first time I have seen such heavy snow," she said. "I worked here to clean the snow for nearly eight hours and only had half an hour to have my breakfast. After lunch, we will continue to work here till 5 pm."

Some snowdrifts at roadsides were up to 3 meters high.

More than 50,000 people, including residents, police and volunteers, were mobilized on Tuesday to clear snow in the city, according to Xinhua.

The 12,000 sanitation workers in Harbin have worked alternate shifts round-the-clock since the snow began. Some workers even had to eat their meals outside.

Yuan Shijun, 41, who runs a restaurant in Harbin, offered a hot lunch for 50 sanitation workers on Tuesday at his restaurant.

"They all work very hard for all the citizens on such cold days. Here, they can drink hot water and have some hot food," Yuan said. "What I can do is just provide them some comfort.

"They told me it will take several days to clear up all the snow, so I will continue to provide free lunches for them."

Despite the problems it caused, some locals also enjoyed the snow, especially children.

Li Tao, the father of a second-grade student in Harbin, bought a small shovel for his son when the snow began.

"We all haven't seen such heavy snow before. I think it's a very good chance for children to get close to nature," Li said. He said his son was happy when they played in the snow and he felt sorry he can't spend much time with his son normally.

All kindergartens, primary and high schools in the urban area closed on Monday and Tuesday because of the snow.

The National Meteorological Center issued a blue alert for blizzards on Tuesday morning, the lowest of four levels, and warned that, in the following 24 hours, heavy snow would continue to fall in the eastern part of Heilongjiang. The snowfall is expected to reach 10 to 14 mm by 8 am on Wednesday morning.

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