Light snow that fell in east China's Shandong Province Friday morning slightly eased the severe drought that has ravaged the region since September.
Duck-shaped boats covered by snow are seen on a frozen lake in the Quancheng Park in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province, Jan. 28, 2011. [Xinhua]
The snow fell between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m., said taxi driver Ning Tingyu who was working the night shift in the provincial capital, Jinan.
Ning's family, living in Tai'an City, Shandong, has six mu (4,000 square meters) of withered wheat fields.
"When I saw the snow, I called my family to ask if the snow had also fallen in the wheat fields. Fortunately, it had. Although there was not much snow, I think it alleviates the drought a bit," said Ning.
The light snow fell in the cities of Jinan, Yantai, Tai'an and Dezhou with an average depth of less than one millimeter, according to the provincial meteorological observatory.
The snow was too light to impact the drought that has affected the whole province, observatory officials said.
Some 320,000 people in Shandong have "temporary" difficulties accessing drinking water, provincial authorities said Thursday.
The meteorological observatory predicts rainfall between Jan. and May will be 10 to 20 percent less than normal.
If the situation persists through to March, almost one million people in the province will have difficulty accessing getting drinking water.
Emergency measures - such as the drilling of wells and the trucking of water to the needy - have helped 370,000 people facing the water shortage.