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Thousands of vehicles stuck on highways in China as snow snarls Lunar New Year travel

BEIJING (AP) — Icy conditions trapped thousands of motorists on highways in central China as snow and freezing rain snarled travel by air, train and road during the annual Lunar New Year holiday rush.

A Chinese travel blogger said she and her boyfriend were waiting with others Tuesday for de-icing work to be completed after covering only 30 to 40 kilometers (20 to 25 miles) in 13 hours the previous day.

Traveling in the relative comfort of a motorhome, Chen Wei appeared unperturbed by the delay in the trip to her hometown. She quoted an old Chinese saying, telling the AP she “accepts what comes and faces it with calmness.”

The heavy snow, unusual for central China, was forecast to continue into Wednesday. Millions of people are heading home for the Lunar New Year, which falls on Saturday. Families traditionally gather for dinner the night before.

The central government in Beijing said it would disburse 141 million yuan ($20 million) in urgent assistance for highway snow removal and related work in 11 provinces to ensure safe travel for the holiday, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

In Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, tree branches snapped under the weight of the snow and the airport closed runways because of icy conditions. Some flights and trains were canceled or delayed, stranding travelers for hours.

A provincial emergency management official told CCTV that 4,000 vehicles were stuck on Monday because of icy conditions. There was no immediate update to that figure on Tuesday.

Chen and her boyfriend got stuck in Hubei while driving from Hangzhou in eastern China to inland Sichuan province. She described in one widely shared post how they let others stuck in the snow use their toilet and shared water and sausages with them.

One person was killed and 13 others injured in neighboring Hunan province on Monday after a roof collapsed at an agricultural produce fair following a heavy snowfall, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Cotton-padded quilts and other relief items were being sent to Hunan, Xinhua said.

In Japan, heavy snow in the Tokyo area on Monday disrupted trains, knocked out power and grounded more than 100 flights.

Article Topic Follows: AP National News

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