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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's weather bureau lifted a blizzard "orange alert" with fewer areas likely to face heavy snow on Friday, but warned heavy rainstorms were expected in parts of the country.

The National Meteorological Center said late on Thursday that moderate to heavy snow was still expected in some regions, including parts of eastern China's Jiangsu and Anhui, while southwest Guangxi region was facing heavy freezing rain and sleet.

Record levels of snowfall since late Wednesday have paralysed parts of China, with Nanjing in eastern coastal Jiangsu province issuing a blizzard "red alert" on Thursday afternoon after forecasting snow depths of 25 cm (10 inches).

China's weather bureau issued an "orange alert" on Wednesday, with snow disrupting public transport and energy supplies, damaging power lines and forcing authorities to shut down roads, airports and schools in some parts of central China.

At least three Chinese airports were shut and nine others were experiencing extensive delays on Thursday because of heavy snowfall.

Several high-speed trains from Shanghai and Beijing were also delayed or cancelled on Thursday, and highways in the provinces of Jiangsu, Henan, Shaanxi and Hubei have also been closed off, the China Daily reported on Friday.

The paper also said the ceilings of several bus stations in Hefei, the capital of Anhui province, had collapsed as a result of snow, resulting in at least one death. The province saw a record 30 cm (12 inches) of snowfall on Thursday.

Xiangyang in central China's Hubei province also saw the roof of a factory collapse, trapping five people, and traffic in the city also ground to a halt on Thursday, according to the state broadcaster, China National Radio.

(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Michael Perry)

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Reuters