Winter snow painted the North China Plain white in a storm that snarled traffic on February 6, 2006. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image the following day. The snow highlights how densely populated this region is. Cities appear as dark spots against the fresh white snow. The largest city appearing in this image is Beijing (the capital and second largest city, after Shanghai), but dark dots of varying sizes cover the plain, connected in places by thin, barely perceptible lines that are probably roads. In the large image, the snow extends far to the south over the Yellow River Valley. In the south, the most obvious features are not cities, though they are clearly visible, but intricate grids probably created by canals, roads, and farmland. Falling immediately after Chinese Lunar New Year, the snow was seen as a token of good luck, according to news reports.
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