BEIJING Severe winter weather is forecast to
affect much of China over the next few days, potentially
contributing to fresh transport problems just as millions of
people return to work after the week-long Lunar New Year
The sleet, snow and gusty winds forecast on Tuesday by the
National Meteorological Centre are not expected to be as
serious as the heavy snowfall that blanketed much of the
country over the past few weeks.
Millions of travelers were stranded ahead of what for many
of them is their only chance to go home each year.
But the centre said road conditions could deteriorate as a
cold front sweeps south along the eastern coast, possibly
complicating travel on Tuesday, the last day of the holiday,
when rural migrant workers across the country will take trains
and buses to return to work.
"With temperatures falling in the morning and evening,
precautions should be taken to deal with the potential negative
impact of icy road conditions and similar problems," the centre
said in a statement on its Web site.
Tuesday would probably be the busiest travel day since the
start of the holiday, state television said. The rail network
was expected to carry about 5 million passengers on Tuesday,
while more than 53 million would travel by road.
Southwestern Guizhou and Yunnan provinces would probably
have sleet over the next couple of days, while parts of Tibet
and Qinghai, in the far west, could expect heavy snowfall, the
Meanwhile, much of the south and southwest would face rain
or snow flurries, while a cold snap hits the north and
The forecasts will come as unwelcome news to the tens of
millions of people affected by the storms that started late
last month, causing billions of dollars in damage and killing
at least 80 people.
The government had only just restored rail and road links,
the power grid and food supplies in most of the country by the
weekend, following what were the worst storms in decades in
much of the south.
Workers had restored power to 93 percent of households that
had suffered power cuts as a result of the storms, Xinhua news
agency said, adding that in hard-hit Guizhou province, the grid
would not be fully restored until the end of March.
China's roads are the world's deadliest, and accidents
typically spike at the start and end of the holidays, when the
country's infrastructure is stretched to the limit.
Six people were killed and 12 injured on Monday when a bus
carrying 42 passengers crashed in Dongguan, in southern
Guangdong province, Xinhua said. It cited a local government
spokesman as blaming driver fatigue and speeding for the crash.
(Reporting by Jason Subler and Jim Bai; Editing by David