Northeast China sees first major blizzard of the season and forecasters warn of record snowfall
BEIJING (AP) – Heavy snow blanketed China’s northeastern plains Monday, closing schools and halting transportation in the country’s first major snowstorm of the season.
Major roads in the city of Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, were closed and flights were cancelled, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said. High school classes were canceled on Monday in parts of Heilongjiang as well as Liaoning and Inner Mongolia provinces.
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A gym in Heilongjiang partially collapsed trapping three people inside, CCTV said late Monday, although the cause was unclear.
The National Weather Center said the snowfall is likely to “break through historical records” for the same period. Heavy snowstorms were expected to continue in parts of Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces, with the depth reaching 20 centimeters (8 inches) in some places.
CCTV footage showed lorries going head-to-head, stretching 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) outside Harbin.
China’s weather authorities issued an orange alert through Tuesday, the second highest on a scale of four.
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Late Monday night, CCTV reported that a section of a two-story gymnasium had collapsed in Jiamusi city in Heilongjiang. The broadcaster said that three people were trapped and that a rescue operation was underway.
Video circulated online showed firefighters and rescue workers at a scene covered in snow and debris. There were no official statements about the incident.