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February 8, 2013

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Snow, rain test festival travelers

SHANGHAI'S streets are expected to be frozen this morning after snow yesterday covered the city, authorities said.

Railway authorities expect many bus passengers whose way home is blocked by bad weather on the expressways will turn to trains instead.

Meanwhile, the bureau said the skies are to be clear for just one day during the Spring Festival holiday.

The bureau issued its Spring Festival weather forecast yesterday, saying the city will have to contend with rain or snow for most of the week-long holiday period (see the chart above).

A yellow road icing alert, lowest of the three-scale system, was issued by the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau at 4:50pm yesterday when the snow started to accumulate on the ground.

The snow caused congestion on city roads, expressways and bridges yesterday.

The weather will continue to affect the traffic today, making things harder for those trying to return home for the Spring Festival.

Accidents on the icy roads led to severe congestion on city's Inner Ring Road, downtown's major thoroughfare, and other roads, said traffic authorities.

The Fengpu and Minpu bridges crossing the Huangpu River were closed late yesterday, and several ramps on other bridges like the Lupu Bridge were also off-limits to vehicles for safety reasons as workers were removing the snow. Fengpu Bridge traffic had resumed by 10pm yesterday as the work finished.

Slower speed limits also were posted on some expressways and highways yesterday. The outbound inter-province transport was the most affected.

More than 40 long-distance bus services leaving the city were canceled, with about 1,000 passengers were affected.

Departing flights were also affected. More than 300 flights were delayed yesterday at the city's two airports. Most of the delays were short and for no more than an hour, said the airport operators, and snow cleaning machines were ready.

No large scale passenger strandings were reported.

Train services saw relatively smooth operations.

The railway operator said extra train services will be added to the track in the region, including Shanghai and Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Anhui provinces, that were hit by snow.


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