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Snow Disrupts China Travelers Before Lunar New Year Holidays

Snow and rain in eastern China blocked highway traffic today, leading to more road accidents as people returned to their hometowns for the Lunar New Year holidays next week.

Highway traffic in Shandong was “paralyzed” due to snow as more than one hundred toll gates in the province were closed as of 1:35 p.m. today, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on its microblog. In Henan province, seven people died and 46 were injured in three traffic accidents, Xinhua said separately.

The 2012 Lunar New Year period generated more than 3 billion passenger trips in China, Xinhua reported last year. As rain, snow and fog increases, people on the roads should be more cautious amid the peak traffic period before the holidays, the China Meteorological Administration said today.

Central and eastern China will continue to be covered by rain and snow tomorrow as another cold front arrives, leading to a drop in temperature, the meteorological bureau said in an e-mail today.

Twelve people died when a coach designed for 19 passengers and carrying 34 overturned and crashed in Guizhou province in the southwest yesterday, Xinhua said. Authorities canceled or planned alternate routes for 13 coach lines today, mainly those leaving Beijing via mountain roads, Xinhua said separately.

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