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Chinese New Year travel hit by winter weather, 8,000 stuck in Kunming

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The Kunming Daily is reporting that the winter weather wreaking havoc upon the transportation networks in central and southern China has left nearly 8,000 Chinese New Year travelers held up in Kunming, just days into a holiday season that was expected to see 22 million travelers pass through Chinese airports and 179 million travelers riding the country's trains.

Kunming Wujiaba International Airport was reporting 21 delayed flights and more than 2,000 travelers stuck in limbo on Sunday due to inclement weather at airports in Changsha, Tianjin, Sanya, Wenzhou, Hefei, Nanjing, Qingdao and other airports stretching from the Bohai Bay down to the South China Sea, according to Kunming media reports. Kunming Airport is reportedly scrambling to make food and lodging arrangements for the stranded travelers.

Rail travel in and out of Kunming has also been affected by the extreme weather, with the city's railway station announcing that in the coming few days, train departures and arrivals could be delayed by the resurgence of winter in much of the country. A hotline has been set up to deal with Kunming-related rail travel queries: (0871) 6122122.

Road transport in and around Yunnan province has also been affected. Buses between Kunming and Diqing prefecture - located near the Yunnan-Tibet border - have been delayed indefinitely as snow continues to fall upon Diqing. Passenger bus service leading from Yunnan northeastward toward Guizhou has also been suspended due to extreme weather in the province, which neighbors Yunnan.

Virtually all of China is feeling the impact of the winter weather upon the central and southern regions as many connecting flights located in affected areas have been delayed. Major trunk rail lines and highways in other less-affected areas are also feeling the strain of the bad weather far away – on Sunday Guangzhou's rail station was reporting more than 100,000 stranded travelers, with that number expected to increase.

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