First snowfall of the winter seen on Hehuanshan

Taipei, Dec. 5 (CNA) Hehuanshan, one of Taiwan's highest mountains, saw its first snowfall of the winter early Tuesday morning after a continental cold air mass sent temperatures plunging around the country, according to the Taroko National Park Administration.Snow, rain and sleet started falling on the 3,422-meter mountain early in the morning as the mercury fell to 6 degrees below zero Celsius and blanketed it with a l-centimeter covering of snow, the agency's Hehuanshan management station said.The mountain, located on the border of Nantou and Hualien counties, was turned into a silvery white world, the agency said.Many visitors gathered in Wuling, the highest point accessible by road near Hehuanshan at 3,274 meters, before the snow fell, eagerly waiting for it to arrive, the agency said.Wang Ju-hua, a senior tour guide at the Hehuanshan management station, said visitors intending to drive the short uphill trip from the Hehuanshan visitor center to Wuling are being asked to attach snow chains to their tires.Traffic controls have also been imposed for that section of road, but no restrictions have been put in place for people driving to Wuling from the west up from Qingjing F Wang also urged visitors driving toward the mountain to make sure their vehicles are in good shape and able to withstand severe weather conditions and also to dress warmly.According to the Central Weather Bureau, the cold air mass sent temperatures plunging to their lowest level in low-lying areas around Taiwan so far this winter season, hitting 15.1 degrees in Tamsui early Tuesday morning.