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China rules out repeat of '08 snow chaos

China does not expect a repeat of the snow storms that caused travel chaos and misery for millions of Chinese heading home for last year's "Spring Festival," the government said Friday.
China Snow
A strong cold front swept northern China — including streets in Shenyang, seen here Thursday — and was moving south. But China said it doesn't expect a brutal next few weeks. AP
/ Source: Reuters

China does not expect a repeat this Lunar New Year of the snow storms that caused travel chaos and misery for millions of Chinese heading home for last year's "Spring Festival," the government said Friday.

Unseasonably cold weather and ice storms across central and southern China last year killed at least 129 people, caused transport chaos and cut off power and water for millions as people struggled to get home for Chinese New Year.

"It ought to be said that the situation this year compared with last year is very different," said Zhai Panmao, head of the China Meteorological Administration's Prediction and Disaster Mitigation Department.

"This year everyone can feel that there is much less snow, and in the south incidents of freezing cold and rain and snow have been localized and short-lasting," he told a news conference.

Zhai said that there would be some snow in parts of southwestern Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, but nothing out of the ordinary.

"Generally speaking over the Spring Festival the weather will be quite stable over most of the country, and temperatures will start to warm up. The cold air currently affecting China will basically lift on New Year's Eve," he added.

The Year of the Ox starts Monday.