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Freezing weather expected to sweep across the central and eastern regions
China Daily
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Freezing weather expected to sweep across the central and eastern regions

The extended period and extensive area to be covered by the approaching weather front, expected to bring freezing rain and snow, will make the overall conditions the most complex since a similar event in 2008, Weather China said on Jan. 29.

Starting on Jan. 31, a massive front of freezing weather is expected to sweep across the central and eastern regions of the country, bringing with it the longest duration of rain and snowfall this winter.

As of Jan. 30 afternoon, nine road sections had been closed due to snowfall and icy conditions in the Inner Mongolia and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous regions, and Henan, Hubei and Guizhou provinces, according to transportation authorities.

Meteorologists said the influx of warm and moist air from the southwest will result in extensive coverage and prolonged duration of rain and snow.

Southern and central regions, particularly along the Yangtze River, will experience rain with widespread thunderstorms.

The most widespread freezing rain this winter will occur from Feb 1 to 4 in parts of Henan, Anhui, Hunan and Guizhou provinces.

Northern areas, however, will undergo a transition from rain to snow, with the potential for significant snowfall, especially on Feb 3 and 4.

Sun Jun, chief forecaster at the National Meteorological Center, said, "The extensive and northerly freezing rain is not common, and requires special attention."

He also warned that special attention should be paid to the adverse effects of the weather on agricultural production and transportation.

Henan province, a transportation hub, will be at the center of the snowfall, with an unusually large amount that will require attention, he added.

The last time China faced such a challenging weather scenario during the Spring Festival travel period was in 2016.

However, experts have reassured that this year's event, while complex, is not expected to reach the extreme conditions witnessed in 2008, which saw prolonged freezing rain and low temperatures.

Authorities estimate that around 9 billion individual trips will be made during this year's Spring Festival travel rush, including on railways, roads, waterways and air travel.

Despite the challenging conditions, forecasters said the situation will improve after Feb 7, offering some relief to travelers as clear weather sets in along the Yangtze River and its northern regions.

China DailyGu Yetao

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