BEIJING (AP) — Heavy snow blanketed parts of northeastern China on Monday, closing schools and halting transportation in the country’s first major snowstorm of the season.
Major highways in the city of Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, were closed and flights were canceled, China’s state broadcaster CCTV reported. Primary school classes were canceled on Monday in parts of Heilongjiang as well as neighboring Liaoning and Inner Mongolia provinces.
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A gym in Heilongjiang partially collapsed, trapping three people inside, CCTV reported late Monday, although the cause was unclear.
The National Weather Center said snowfall is likely to “break all-time records” for the same period. Heavy snowstorms were expected to continue in parts of Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces, with depths reaching 20 centimeters (8 inches) in some areas.
CCTV footage showed trucks stuck bumper-to-bumper, stretching 1 kilometer (0.6 mi) outside Harbin.
China’s meteorological authorities issued an orange alert until Tuesday, the second highest on a scale of four.
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Late Monday night, CCTV reported that part of a two-story gymnasium had collapsed in Jiamusi City in Heilongjiang. The broadcaster said three people were trapped and rescue operations were ongoing.
Video released online shows firefighters and rescue workers at a site covered in snow and debris. There have been no official statements about the incident.