China's provinces most affected in last year's snow disaster are on high alert again as an ice storm snarled traffic, posing threats to the coming Spring Festival travel peak which starts in four days.
The sleet, which started in Hunan Province Monday, has already disrupted many people's travel plans.
The central Hunan Province issued its first sleet warning of the winter on Tuesday as a storm hit 34 cities and counties, dumping several centimeters of snow. Cars were barely moving in downtown Changsha, the capital city.
Hunan Provincial Meteorological Observatory urged transportation, power and communications sectors to be on alert through the storm. It also asked citizens to stay indoors as long as possible to prevent accidents.
The sleet, which started Monday, has already disrupted many people's travel plans.
"I planned to visit my parents in Changde City before the Spring Festival, but the continuous snow has spoiled my appetite to travel," said Chen Xiaoshu, a Changsha office worker. "I would rather stay home and wait for sunny days to come than to trudge in the chilly cold."
Chen said she hoped the snow and sleet would not stay around as long as last year.
In January 2008, freak winter weather -- prolonged snow, rain and sleet -- in the country's eastern, central and southern regions, brought down power lines, coated roads with thick ice, and forced trains, buses and planes to stop running. Millions of people traveling for the Spring Festival were stranded at railway terminals and airports for weeks.
According to China's Civil Affairs Ministry statistics, a total of 107 people died and eight others went missing in the snow disaster.