China lets it snow, lets it snow, lets it snow

Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:57am EST
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China took credit Tuesday for the first snowfall of the winter in Beijing, saying it fired sticks of chemicals into the sky to seed clouds in a bid to end a persistent drought.

Snow fell in the capital Tuesday morning, dusting the gabled roofs of the ancient alleyways and settling briefly, only the second "precipitation" this winter following artificially induced rain Thursday, Xinhua news agency said.

"But the rain was not enough to end the lingering drought," it added.

Zhang Qiang, deputy director of the Beijing Weather Modification Command Center, was quoted as saying it had fired 426 cigarette-size sticks of silver iodide to seed the clouds from 28 "weather rocket launch bases" in the city.

Beijing is enduring its longest drought in 38 years, according to weather bureau records, going without rain since October 24.

(Reporting by Nick Macfie; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

<p>A woman clears snow in front of her house in Beijing February 17, 2009. REUTERS/Christina Hu</p>