Road traffic in some areas of south China remains at a
standstill due to a prolonged snow, rain and cold weather spell,
stranding tens of thousands of people on their way home for the
upcoming Spring Festival holiday.
Seven expressways and 21 highways in southwestern Guizhou
Province were closed on Friday due to ice, stranding 27,000
travelers in bus stations in Tongren and Zunyi, according to the
provincial communications department.
In neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, more than 800
vehicles, including 270 buses and 8,000 passengers, were stranded
in an area near Guizhou because of highway closures, a Guangxi
communications official said.
The regional road administration authorities had sent four work
teams to Guilin and Hechi to help with traffic order and offer food
and drink to stranded drivers and passengers, said Wei Hongjiao, a
regional communications department official.
The road departments had mobilized maintenance workers and
ice-clearing vehicles to prevent ice-related traffic accidents, Wei
The snow and rain accompanied by low temperatures since the
beginning of mid-January also hit central Hunan Province.
Most of the expressways in Hunan were closed. Some major power
transmission lines were out of operation, leading to a strained
In Changsha, Hunan's capital, electricity for heating equipment
in hotels and entertainment venues had been suspended, said Dai
Qinghua, a chief engineer of Hunan Power Company.
Dai said more than 8,000 power workers were struggling to
maintain the power supply in the province.
Weather forecasts say the affected areas will see more snow in
the next three days.
Road authorities have been alerting passengers to weather
conditions when traveling.
More snow was forecast to come to east China from the west in
the next four days, said Shanghai Meteorological Center.
In the Changjiang River Delta Region, heavy snow and snowstorms
will hit central Jiangsu province, with lighter precipitations in
Shanghai, southern Jiangsu and northern Zhejiang province,
according to the meteorological center.
Freezing temperatures could close highways from Shanghai to
Ningbo and Hangzhou in Zhejiang.
Highway toll stations and service areas in central China's Hunan
province have experienced strained water and power supplies. Some
have lost communication, according to the local highway operation
Of the 17 service areas on each side of the highways and four
parking lots run by the company, power have been shut in ten and
four had no water supply.
Airlines are also affected. By Friday evening, Huanghua Airport
in Changsha, capital of Hunan province, had been closed twice
leaving more than 6,000 passengers stranded.
In southwest China's Yunnan province, aircraft have been
stranded at Shangrila Airport, in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture
of Deqen. National Way 214 and routes to Shangrila had been blocked
by snow, said Xia Yonghong, deputy secretary general of Deqen on
In neighboring Guizhou province, temperatures are set to plunge
on Tuesday. Highways and national ways have been affected to
different degrees, and 6.87 million people have been affected and
three killed in snow-related accidents.
The Ministry of Communications estimated the number of road
transport journeys to increase five percent to 2.1 billion during
the Spring Festival travel season, which lasts about 40 days until
The snow and cold weather, the worst in a decade in many places,
has left homes collapsed, power blackouts, highways closed and
Eight people have died in snow-related accidents, according to
the Ministry of Civil Affairs. About 32.9 million people have been
affected in 10 provinces across China, including east Anhui,
central Hubei and west Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Total
damage is estimated at 6.23 billion yuan (865.3 million U.S.
The central government has allocated money and materials to
affected areas to guarantee basic living standards for people
(Xinhua News Agency January 26, 2008)