Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures affecting central and eastern parts of China are disrupting flights over the Lunar New Year festival, the busiest travel season in the country.
China’s meteorological agency warned the extreme weather could affect travel plans for millions in the country during the 40-day Lunar New Year travel period.
Known as “chunyun”, the travel period is the world’s largest annual human migration which takes place within China, as millions of Chinese people travel back to their homes to celebrate the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival.
This year’s travel period started on January 26 and will end on March 5, 2024.
The Guardian reported that judging by the number of sub-zero temperature days in the two weeks leading up to the Lunar New Year, this year’s weather could be the worst spring festival conditions since 2008.
Wuhan Tianhe International Airport (WUH) in central China appears to be the worst affected airport. Video footage captured by passengers show the airport blanketed in snow and the People’s Armed Police Forces stepping in to help clear the snow.
Two runways were closed at Wuhan Airport on February 4, 2024, leading to the cancellation of more than two hundred flights.
Travelers on the ground were also stranded due to icy road conditions resulting in traffic and vehicles slipping.
Meteorologists forecast more snow to fall on February 7, 2024, with conditions easing the following day.