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Thousands stuck on roads in central China amid heavy snowfall

Beijing, Feb 6 (EFE).- Thousands of motorists were stuck on the roads of the central Chinese province of Hubei, where cold waves and snowfall have led to the temporary closure of dozens of highways, state media reported Tuesday.

Some of those affected have been waiting for more than three days amid sub-zero temperatures and food and fuel shortages for the roads to clear, The Paper daily reported.

Some people used their hands to clear the snow, some climbed over the highway’s guardrail and went to service areas to buy food while several waited in their vehicles, the newspaper said

The travel chaos comes ahead of China’s main holiday period, the Lunar New Year, during which a record 9 billion domestic trips are expected to be made.

Since Saturday, snow and sleet storms have affected much of Hubei, leaving up to 20 centimeters of snow in some areas, according to the provincial meteorological observatory.

The situation has especially affected highways connecting the provincial capital, Wuhan, with other cities such as Yichang, Jingmen, Xiantao and Suizhou, where long queues of vehicles paralyzed by ice and snow were reported.

Xu Shun, a 72-year-old driver quoted by The Paper, said he left Wuhan on Saturday with his family to return to his hometown in Hubei’s second largest city, Yichang, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) away.

Xu said he wanted to escape the snow and go home for the new year but the road to his home was blocked for over 22 hours.

On Monday, the newspaper reported that about 40 sections of highways in Hubei were closed due to snow.

State television CCTV said some 4,000 vehicles were stuck on nine highway sections in Hubei on Monday.

Local authorities expected the congestion points to be cleared on Tuesday. EFE

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