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Sandstorm Affects 13.9 Million in NE China

Sandstorms swept more than 137,000-square-kilometers in northeast China on Saturday, affecting more than 13.9 million people in the area, the State Forestry Administration said in a press release today.

Affected by a cyclone from the north, sandstorms hit central Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, west Jilin Province and northwest Liaoning Province and also brought gusts and sand to Changchun, capital city of Jilin Province, according to the administration.

The sandstorm is now preceding its way with cold fronts from the northwest to the southeast, and is expected to coat the south Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region soon, according to the press release.

On January 26, the first sandstorm of the year hit northwest China's Gansu Province with wind speeds reaching 13.7 meters per second and visibility of only 600 meters. The storm lasted about an hour and a half in the region, which is considered as one of the four sandstorm origins in China, according to Xinhua news agency.

On Thursday, another sandstorm hit Turpan in Xinjiang with visibility of less than 300 meters, Xinhua said.

China had 18 sandstorms in 2006, a record-high since 2000. Thirteen provinces and municipalities were wrapped in dust last spring, a peak period of sandstorms in northern China, according to China Meteorological Administration.

(Shanghai Daily March 13, 2007)

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