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Massive Snowstorms in China Close Airports

Winter's wrath separates families

China's Snow CrisisChina's Snow CrisisThis is no ordinary snowstorm. By Sunday night, inclement weather forced Chinese authorities to issue a red alert. It's the lead up to the country's biggest holiday and thousands, if not millions, won't make it home to see their families.

"Due to the rain, snow and frost, plus increased winter use of coal and electricity and the peak travel season, the job of ensuring coal, electricity and oil supplies and adequate transportation has become quite severe," said Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

The worst weather in over 50 years claimed at least 24 lives and is wreaking havoc on inter-provincial travel. In one city alone, up to 600 000 passengers are stuck in train stations.

Passengers waiting to travel are riding an emotional rollercoaster, hoping to squeeze onto one of the few vehicles leaving the station. With so many wanting to get home, each cancelled train or closed airport crushes hundreds of dreams. Bus service is also affected so they have few choices. Wait and hope, or go home and give up.

At one point 19 major airports were closed, and re-opened airports could close at any time. We're betting that any flights in and out of China are probably late - if they happen at all.

The blizzards and ice storms have been raging since mid-January and are expected to continue until the Chinese New Year (February 7th) according to the Financial Times.

What a heartbreaking start to the New Year for all of those families waiting to reconnect. Maybe the spirit of the season will inspire some new traditions as people make new friends while they wait out the weather.

Has your holiday mishap ever turned out better than expected? How did you go from emergency to adventure?

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