Heavy Snow Strands 150,000 Travelers in China

Power cuts blamed on ice and unusually heavy snow stranded about 150,000 vacationers in the key southern Chinese rail hub city of Guangzhou, state media reported.

At the advent of China's peak Lunar New Year travel season, the number of travelers arriving in Guangzhou was expected to rise Monday to 600,000 and local authorities scrambled to arrange temporary shelters at schools and other public buildings, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Tens of millions of Chinese were expected to travel for the New Year holiday.

About 100,000 people spent Saturday night sleeping in the station's yard in a steady drizzle, Xinhua said.

The rail backups were compounded by a slowdown in bus travel after thick sheets of ice forced the closure of several highways. Snow delayed numerous flights out of Shanghai.

Most of the delays were blamed on power cuts that stalled 136 electric passenger trains on the tracks in Hunan province between Beijing and Guangzhou, Xinhua said.

Hunan and many parts of central China have been hit in recent days by freakishly cold weather, icy rain and snow that has accumulated on power lines, causing some of the them to snap.

Some areas have received their heaviest snowfalls in over a decade. More bad weather is forecast for the coming days.

The railway authority sent in about 22,000 pounds of rice, vegetables, meat, and edible oil, as well as 20,000 boxes of instant noodles and drinking water for those stuck aboard trains, Xinhua said.

About 100 diesel locomotives were being dispatched to move the trains along and additional trains have been sent to pick up stranded passengers, the agency said.