Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Thursday, 19 February 2009

China lets it snow to end drought


Artificially-induced snow in Beijing

Beijing enjoyed its third day of artificially induced snow on Thursday after its longest drought in 38 years.

The four-month drought ended on Tuesday when snow fell after iodide sticks had been fired into the sky to seed clouds.

Hundreds of sticks were also blasted on Wednesday to increase the snowfall over northern China.

"The snow has brought moisture to the soil, which may help end the drought," Guo Yingchun, an engineer at a meteorological observatory said.

The Chinese capital rarely experiences snow flurries but it was proving to be a draw for some visitor attractions including sections of the Great Wall.

The Chinese authorities have used cloud-seeding methods in the past - including to prevent rain in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics - although there is little scientific evidence of their effectiveness.

The snow led to the closure on Thursday of 12 main roads around Beijing. However the artificially-induced snow was forecast to end by nightfall, according to Beijing's meteorological bureau.

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