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Beijing Escapes Sandy Weather
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The Chinese capital experienced three mild sandstorms this spring, the second lowest number in the past twenty years.


Guo Hu, chief of the municipal meteorological observatory, said no more sandy weather days are expected this year.


Partly because of its geographical location, Beijing has frequently seen strong winds and sandy weather in spring. But increased forestation north of Beijing -- especially the Three-North Forest Belt -- and innovative grassland repair projects have played a big role in reducing sandstorms in Beijing. There was no sandy weather in Beijing in 2003.


Zhang Mingying with the municipal meteorological observatory cited increased rainfall in Beijing since the beginning of the year, and comparatively little cyclone activity in the Inner Mongolian region as two major factors behind fewer sandy weather assaults in the city this spring.


Rainfall in Beijing was 90.7 mm in the first five months of the year, a rise of 50 percent on the average 60.2 mm in the past three decades.


"Rainfall has increased but high temperatures have also boosted moisture evaporation -- the net result is that Beijing is suffering drought," said Guo.


Temperatures this summer will be higher than normal years, predicted Guo, who warned there might be extreme weather incidents in parts of the capital in the months to come.


(Xinhua News Agency May 31, 2007)

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