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N. Korea hit by longest cold snap in six decades

SEOUL--North Korea has been hit by the longest cold spell in six decades, raising concerns about this year's grain production, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper reported Tuesday.

Temperatures stayed below zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) for 40 consecutive days from Dec. 24, a phenomenon only surpassed by a 62-day streak in 1945, said the Tokyo-based Chosun Sinbo.

The average temperature during the period was 3.1 degrees Celsius lower than last year, it said, and citizens could walk across the frozen Taedong River which bisects Pyongyang.

It quoted North Korean meteorologist Ryu Ki-Yol as saying the chill had frozen soil up to 42 centimeters (17 inches) below the surface, 10 cm deeper than last year, causing farmers to worry about crop production this year.

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