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Fog Worsens Central China's Traffic Logjam

Three weeks into the worst winter weather crisis in five decades, heavy fog shrouded parts of central China's Hunan Province on Sunday, delaying flights and bringing road traffic to a standstill.

In the capital city of Changsha, visibility was reduced to 50 meters on Sunday morning.

The provincial meteorological station warns the fog, which hovers over the central and northern parts of the province, is likely to persist until early afternoon.

The fog, plus ice on the roads, has closed down highways and brought city center traffic to a standstill in the morning rush hour.

Sunday is a working day in China this week. The working population are told to "save" the weekend in order to take seven days off during the Lunar Chinese New Year starting on Wednesday.

Not a single flight took off from the Huanghua International Airport in Changsha before 10:00 AM.

The provincial weather bureau has warned the severe weather is still not coming to an end, with more snow or sleet forecast for Monday and Tuesday.

It said the minimum temperature averages minus four degrees Celsius on Sunday and highways to the mountainous regions in the western and southern areas remain icy.

The winter weather crisis threatens to stop many pre-holiday travelers from going home for family reunions and across China, local governments are persuading migrants to spare the trip and stay where they are.

In Beijing, newspapers are soliciting ideas from the public about how to help the migrants spend a happy holiday away from home.

(Xinhua News Agency February 3, 2008)

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