China’s Lunar New Year Travel is Halted by Snow
Thousands of drivers were stuck on central Chinese highways due to icy weather that hindered air, train, and road travel during the peak Lunar New Year vacation period. The snow and freezing rain caused delays.
After only traveling 30 to 40 kilometers (20 to 25 miles) in 13 hours the day before, a Chinese travel blogger reported that she and her partner were waiting for the de-icing process to be finished alongside others on Tuesday.
Chen Wei was unfazed by the delay in her journey to her homeland, even though she was traveling in the relative comfort of a camper. She told them she “accepts what comes and faces it with calmness,” paraphrasing an old Chinese proverb.
It was predicted that the unusually heavy snowfall in central China would persist until Wednesday. This Saturday is the Lunar New Year, and millions of people are returning home for the celebration. Traditionally, the previous evening’s dinner is spent with family.
In order to guarantee safe travel during the holiday, the central government in Beijing said that it would provide 141 million yuan ($20 million) in immediate support for highway snow removal and related operations in 11 provinces, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
The snow caused tree branches in Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei, to break, and the airport had to close its runways due to the icy conditions. Travelers were left stranded for hours due to the cancellation or delay of certain flights and trains.
4,000 cars were stopped on Monday due to ice weather, a provincial emergency management official told CCTV. On Tuesday, there was no immediate update on that number.
While traveling from Hangzhou in eastern China to the province of Sichuan’s interior, Chen and her partner became stuck in Hubei. In a highly shared article, she detailed how they shared water and sausages with people who were caught in the snow and allowed them to use their restroom.
Following a significant snowstorm, a ceiling fell at an agricultural produce market in adjacent Hunan province on Monday, leaving one person dead and thirteen injured, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
Xinhua said that quilts with cotton padding and other relief supplies were being shipped to Hunan.
In Japan, Monday’s severe snowfall in the Tokyo region caused power outages, rail disruptions, and the grounding of over 100 flights.