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Freezing rain, snow to hit central, northern China, prompting emergency alerts

01-21-2012 09:14 BJT

CHANGSHA, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- Snow and freezing rain swept central and eastern China on Friday, three days before the start of Lunar New Year, with emergency warnings issued for power failures and hazardous road conditions.

The yellow alert for freezing rain and snow, the second lowest of the four level alert system, has generally been issued for central China's Hunan Province and will run till Jan. 26, said a spokesman with the Hunan branch of the State Grid Corporation of China.

While the orange alert, the second highest level for the freezing rain and snow, has been specifically issued for Chenzhou, Yongzhou, Shaoyang and some other cites in Hunan.

Over 4,000 rescuers have been put on standby to deal with power supply emergencies, he said.

China's meteorological authority said Friday that the country's northern and central regions will see heavy snow over the next three days, warning of a possible impact on local transportation during the ongoing Spring Festival travel rush.

The National Meteorological Center issued this year's first blue alert for heavy snow on Friday, the lowest level in the country's four-scale snow alert, the center said in a statement on its website.

Heavy snow will hit parts of Gansu, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Hubei, Anhui and Hunan provinces in the next 24 hours, while central parts of Guizhou province will experience freezing rain.

Meanwhile, temperatures in eastern and central China will drop by 4 to 8 degrees Celsius, and the lowest temperatures in north China will plummet to minus 15 to minus 30 degrees Celsius over the next three days, according to the statement.

Meteorological experts said the cold weather will have a negative impact on travel ahead of the Spring Festival holiday, urging transportation authorities to take precautions.

The Spring Festival holiday, which begins on Jan. 23, is a major Chinese holiday, with many Chinese returning to their hometowns for family reunions.

A total of 3.16 billion passenger trips are expected during the 40-day festival travel rush, which started on Jan. 8, up 9.1 percent from a year earlier.

Of the total number of trips, 235 million will be made on the country's trains, up 6.1 percent year-on-year, according to the country's railway authorities.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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