Weather freezes Spring Festival travel

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Freezing weather in Central and South China has disrupted the beginning of the annual Spring Festival travel rush, with temperatures reaching their lowest since 1961 in Guizhou, Hunan and Hubei provinces.

A Ministry of Transport report on Wednesday said an expressway, seven national highways and 36 provincial highways were closed because of heavy snow and sleet in Chongqing municipality and Guizhou, Sichuan, Yunnan, Anhui, Hunan and Hubei provinces.

Railway traffic has increased in parts of Guizhou and Hunan provinces because heavy snow has delayed other modes of transportation, the Ministry of Railways said.

In the hardest-hit province, Guizhou, the Longdongbao International Airport, located in the provincial capital of Guiyang, was forced to shut down from Tuesday night until Wednesday noon.

Two people were hospitalized when the Guiyang Train Station's shelter collapsed under the weight of snow early Wednesday morning.

Neither were seriously injured, and one has been discharged from the hospital, the train station spokesman said.

And more than 800 vehicles were stranded on the ice-coated Guiyang-Xinzhai Expressway on Wednesday morning, traffic police said. The line stretched for more than 10 kilometers.

In neighboring Chongqing municipality's Qianjiang district, more than 10,000 people have been without tap water since Monday afternoon. Freezing temperatures have caused water meters and pipelines to break. Repairmen are working around the clock to fix them.

The National Meteorological Center on Wednesday forecasted snowstorms and freezing weather this week in Guizhou, Yunnan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangxi and Chongqing.


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