South to endure more freezing weather, blizzards and sleet

08:23, January 10, 2011      

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Another cold snap threatens to freeze parts of southern China this week, adding to the traffic disruptions caused by the snow and icy rain that have fallen since New Year's Day.

From Sunday until Thursday, most of Guizhou province, and parts of neighboring Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Yunnan province, will experience more icy rain, the National Meteorological Center forecast on Sunday.

Heavy snow will fall in most parts of Central China's Hunan province, it said.

Snow is also expected in some areas in Hubei and Jiangxi provinces, the forecast said.

Thousands of vehicles lined up along dozens of kilometers on a major national highway in Zhaotong city in Yunnan as ice covered the road, trapping the vehicles, local police said.

Police banned driving along an icy section of the highway between Zhaotong's Zhaoyang district and Daguan county after sunset and tried to clear the icy section by section in the daylight.

Zhaoyang district's traffic was very slow on Sunday morning because a thin layer of ice had accumulated after earlier snowfalls, local resident Li Ren'an said on Sunday.

In Southwest China's Chongqing municipality, prolonged low temperatures and freezing rain disrupted the operation of mountain highways linking remote towns and villages. About 787,500 people had been affected by the cold weather since New Year's Day.

The freezing weather also damaged water pipes, cutting off supply to 270,000 residents.

As of Friday, the freezing weather had prompted the evacuation of 60,000 people from damaged homes in southern China, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

On Sunday morning, the Ministry of Public Security ordered local police departments in 13 provinces to improve plans for traffic management in bad weather in the run-up to the Chinese New Year on Feb 3.

The provinces should cooperate to redirect traffic in case of icy roads, Vice-Minister of Public Security Huang Ming said at a conference on Sunday morning.

Expressways, especially inter-provincial ones, should not be closed without ministry approval, Huang added.

Snowfall also affected traffic in Qingdao city in East China's Shandong province on Sunday. The blizzard shut down six toll gates on the Qingdao-Yinchuan expressway, and caused flight delays and cancellations at the city's airport.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

By Yan Jie and Guo Anfei, China Daily
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