Icy conditions have trapped thousands of drivers on motorways in central China as snow and freezing rain disrupted travel by air, train and road during the annual Lunar New Year holiday rush.

A Chinese travel blogger said she and her boyfriend were waiting with others on Tuesday for de-icing work to be completed after covering only 20-25 miles in 13 hours the previous day.

Travelling in the relative comfort of a motorhome, Chen Wei appeared unperturbed by the delay in the trip to her hometown. She quoted an old Chinese saying, telling the AP she "accepts what comes and faces it with calmness".

The heavy snow, unusual for central China, was forecast to continue into Wednesday.

Millions of people are heading home for the Lunar New Year, which falls on Saturday. Families traditionally gather for dinner the night before.

The central government in Beijing said it would provide millions in urgent assistance for highway snow removal and related work in 11 provinces to ensure safe travel for the holiday, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

In Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, tree branches snapped under the weight of the snow and the airport closed runways because of icy conditions. Some flights and trains were cancelled or delayed, stranding travellers for hours.

A provincial emergency management official told CCTV that 4,000 vehicles were stuck on Monday because of icy conditions.

One person was killed and 13 others injured in neighbouring Hunan province on Monday after a roof collapsed at an agricultural produce fair following a heavy snowfall, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Cotton-padded quilts and other relief items were being sent to Hunan, Xinhua said.

In Japan, heavy snow in the Tokyo area on Monday disrupted trains, knocked out power and grounded more than 100 flights.

Source: AP