Heavy Snow Set to Hit East, Central China Before Lunar New Year

Shanghai, along with provinces in eastern and central China, is forecast to experience heavy snow today that may pose a challenge to travelers heading home for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Snow is forecast in the city and the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hunan and Hubei starting 2 p.m. today and may continue until 8 p.m. tomorrow, the China Meteorological Administration said on its website. The administration issued a “blue” snowfall and blizzard warning, the lowest on its four-level scale.

Cold weather this week has led to blocked highways and more road accidents, as travel increases in the runup to the Lunar New Year holidays starting Feb. 9. In today’s statement, the weather agency called for transportation, rail, electricity and communication industries to prepare for the bad weather, and advised people to minimize outdoor activity.

The 2012 Chinese New Year period generated more than 3 billion passenger trips in China, Xinhua reported last year. The holidays this year last from Feb. 9-15.

A cold spell this week “paralyzed” highway traffic in Shandong as more than one hundred toll gates in the province was shut due to snow, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Feb. 5. In Henan province, seven people died and 46 were injured in three traffic accidents, Xinhua said separately.

Parts of Shanghai may see accumulated snowfall of as much as 6 millimeters, accompanied by icing on some roads, the city’s weather service center said on its website. It advised residents to pay attention to safety while traveling and using electricity and gas.

— With assistance by Liza Lin

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