China’s Civil Affairs ministry put the cost of severe winter weather at US$4.5 billion, CNN reported. Unusually heavy snow and cold weather continue to cause transportation bottlenecks and put strains on an overstreched power grid across large areas of the country ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. Weather was seen as a factor in pushing down Asian stock markets on Wednesday, as investors worried about the effect of the storms on Chinese manufacturers. The People’s Liberation Army has deployed nearly half a million soldiers to clear roads across affected regions. The weather has also led to long delays at Chinese train stations.