Bloomberg News

South China to Face Snow, Rain as Millions Return Home

January 29, 2012

(Updates with road traffic information in fourth graph.)

Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Many parts of southern China will face snow and rain in the coming days as the week-long Lunar New Year holiday nears its end and millions of people return to work in the cities, according to the Chinese weather agency.

Rain will fall in the eastern parts of the southwestern provinces till Jan. 30, the China Meteorological Administration said in a statement on its website today. Light snow or sleet will hit the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, according to the statement.

A “weak” cold front will descend on central and eastern China from tomorrow to Jan. 30, lowering temperatures by about 4 degrees Celsius to 6 degrees Celsius, according to the weather agency. Weather conditions may affect traffic as the post- festival travel peak nears, it said.

Major highways were operating normally as of 9 a.m. today, according to the China Highway Information Service, while most flights were departing as scheduled from airports in Beijing and Shanghai, their websites showed.

The Ministry of Railways added 514 trains into service yesterday, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing the ministry. The number of rail passengers rose to 4.5 million on Jan. 25 from 3.7 million the day before and travel is projected to peak today. On Chinese highways, a total of 40.91 million trips were made yesterday, 9.8 percent more than the same period last year, Xinhua said, citing Ministry of Transport data.

Weather Delays

Weather conditions had disrupted travel prior to the start of the Lunar New Year. Passengers will make 3.16 billion trips over the festive holiday rush period, which began Jan. 8 and will end in the middle of February, a 9.1 percent increase from 2011, according to Xinhua.

Rain and fog delayed operations on the high-speed line between Beijing and Shanghai on Jan. 14, Xinhua reported this month. A bus collided with a car in Shanxi on Jan. 21, killing seven people on board, after snowfalls on Jan. 20 blanketed most of the province and forced the closure of a dozen highways, while 448 people and 80 vehicles were stranded on a highway in Xinjiang late on Jan. 21 in a sudden blizzard, Xinhua reported.

Over the next few days, snow and rainfall is unlikely to affect road travel, Ministry of Transport spokesman He Jianzhong said, according to Xinhua.

--Winnie Zhu, with assistance from Henry Sanderson in Beijing. Editors: Shiyin Chen, Linus Chua

To contact the reporter on this story: Winnie Zhu in Shanghai at wzhu4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shiyin Chen at schen37@bloomberg.net


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