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Snowmelt could mean new round of disasters: meteorologists
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People in most snow-stricken areas in the south and east parts of China will continue to enjoy sunshine and warmer temperatures for the next three days, but meteorologists warned that the snowmelt could lead to a new round of problems.

From Friday to Sunday, most areas along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River will be sunny to cloudy, while snowfalls are expected in most parts of the northwest, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) forecast on Thursday.

The CMA warned that the snowmelt could trigger geo-disasters like landslides in mountain areas, while causing heavy fog in many parts of east China that will affect traffic.

Heavy snows or even blizzards were likely in southeast Tibet, south Gansu, northern parts of western Sichuan and northwest Yunnan.

Freak winter storms have plagued southern China since mid-January, leading to widespread traffic jams, structural collapses, blackouts and crop losses in 19 provinces.

Rail, highway and air transport systems paralyzed by the freezing weather only began to recover on Tuesday. The weather disruptions forced millions to abandon plans for family reunions for the Lunar New Year.

The storms killed more than 80 people, destroyed or damaged 800,000 houses and resulted in losses of 80 billion yuan (about 11 billion U.S. dollars), according to the Red Cross Society of China.

(Xinhua News Agency February 8, 2008)

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