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Snow forces southern airports to restrict service
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Major airports in east and south China were forced to restrict arrivals for lack of gate positions as a new round of snow hit the region, the civil aviation authority announced on Saturday.


Airports in Hangzhou, Zhejiang and Nanchang, Jiangxi suspended service due to snow and ice on the runways, according to the Central Administration of Civil Aviation.


Shanghai's Pudong Airport had to halt landings before 12 a.m. due to lack of gate positions. The city's other airport, Hongqiao, and airports in nearby cities including Nanjing, Changsha and Wenzhou also restricted flights. These airports were running short of gate positions as it took some time to de-ice the planes that had landed earlier.


Shanghai's two international airports had delayed more than 500 flights and canceled 13 by noon, leaving a large number of passengers stranded.


However, the airport in Hefei, Anhui Province, was able to resume service after being closed all morning, the administration said.


The snow and sleet that affected China's southern regions was expected to taper off late on Saturday night, the Central Meteorological Station (CMS) forecast on Saturday morning. But the outlook was less favorable in eastern and southern China, where heavy snow -- the worst in decades -- could last until Feb. 8 or 9, according to the latest CMS forecasts.


The severe weather had so far killed at least 60 people, authorities said, and left many millions facing a cold, dark Lunar New Year holiday.


(Xinhua News Agency February 2, 2008)


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