The Lunar holiday marks the “largest annual human migration” as millions travel to their hometowns in China. An estimated total of 480 million trips are expected to be made for the Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival. The volume is 40% higher than the previous year with Covid-19 restrictions lifted over a year ago.
However, unusual weather conditions have resulted in hundreds of flights and train service cancellations. Nearly 100 highway toll stations in Anhui have blocked cars from entering because of icy conditions, while on Monday, state broadcaster CCTV reported that 4,000 vehicles were stuck on the roads.
Average daily temperatures have fallen below 0°C across 255 of China’s cities. According to its meteorological service, the country is experiencing its worst winter weather since 2008.
In Hunan province, one person died and 13 others were injured when a roof at a local market collapsed due to heavy snowfall on Monday.
China’s central region – including the provinces of Hebei, Hubei, and Anhui – have been most affected by the snowstorm conditions.
According to CCTV, China’s central government said it would allocate ¥141 million (£15.6 million) to urgent snow removal on highways and related work in 11 provinces.
The freezing weather is expected to subside soon with authorities lifting the most severe blizzard warning on Wednesday. Snow continues in south and central China, but temperatures are expected to increase by tomorrow (Friday 9 February).
In the same week, historic levels of rainfall are bringing about flooding, mudslides, and power outages in California, with at least three people killed by falling trees.