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Cold wave forecast as return trips from Spring Festival travel begin


Heavy traffic, Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province, February 16, 2024. /CFP
Heavy traffic, Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province, February 16, 2024. /CFP

Heavy traffic, Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province, February 16, 2024. /CFP

A new round of cold wave weather is forecast to hit most parts of China from February 17 to the 22, with severe temperature drops and widespread rain and snow expected in the central and eastern regions.

The chief forecaster at the National Meteorological Center predicts that road traffic meteorological risks will be relatively high due to the rainy and snowy weather, which may cause road snow and ice water accumulation and lead to traffic congestion during what is the peak period for the Spring Festival travel rush.

According to Chen Jie, deputy director of Highway Monitoring and Response Center, during the Spring Festival holiday, the traffic flow on expressways across the country has rapidly increased. From February 10 to 15, the daily traffic flow on expressways nationwide was 57.53 million vehicles, up 19.15 percent from the same period last year. 

From 12 a.m. to 12 p.m. on February 16, the total traffic volume on expressways across the country was 29.65 million vehicles, approximately twice the normal level.

The return traffic flow is concentrated in the direction of major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Wuhan, putting high pressure on expressways.

From February 17, affected by the cold wave, most parts of China are forecast to experience a "roller coaster" of temperatures with widespread rain and snow. Henan, Hubei, Hunan and Guizhou are set to experience further freezing rain. 

Chen said based on the characteristics of the traffic flow, the Highway Monitoring and Response Center will further strengthen research and analysis, prepare emergency traffic diversion personnel in advance, and strengthen monitoring and early warning to help resolve congestion during the travel rush.

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