THE strongest March snowstorm to hit northeast China's Liaoning Province in 56 years has left at least one person dead and seven injured after the roof of an agricultural trade building collapsed under the weight of the snow, local sources said.

Three arched ceilings of the Minglian Agricultural Trade Building in Huanggu District, in the provincial capital of Shenyang, collapsed at noon yesterday, burying about 20 stall owners and customers, said a witness.

Beginning Saturday night, rain and snow has fallen continually in most parts of Liaoning, with reported precipitations of 36 millimeters in Shenyang, 56mm in Dalian and 68mm in Dandong, the Shenyang Meteorological Observatory reported.

Snow piled up two meters high in some areas, it said.

The snowstorm forced Taoxian International Airport in Shenyang to close at 8am yesterday.

By 4pm, more than 100 flights had been canceled and over 1,000 passengers were stranded at the airport, which was hoping to reopen today.

Eleven expressways in Liaoning were closed.

Classes were suspended for today for 900,000 primary and middle school students in Shenyang.

More moderate rain and snow hit most parts of north China on Saturday and yesterday, disrupting air and highway travel in these areas.

At Beijing Capital International Airport, more than 200 flights were delayed by 1pm yesterday due to snowfall, airport sources said.

That followed heavy rain on Saturday, which surpassed the total rainfall in the capital in the past three months, said Guo Hu, director of the Beijing Meteorological Observatory.

In Tianjin, Binhai International Airport was closed at 7am yesterday and more than 20 flights have been delayed, airport sources said.

Expressways through the city were also shut down. The city reported 25 to 32 millimeters of rain and snow by yesterday morning.

In Erdos city in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, which saw a blizzard on Saturday with a maximum snowfall of up to 20 centimeters, about 40,000 passengers and 10,000 drivers were stranded.

The Baita Airport in Hohhot, capital of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, had to be closed between 6pm on Saturday and 6am yesterday.