HomeWorld NewsSecond cold wave covered China's Beijing with snow.

Beijing:

Snow, blizzards and plunging temperatures hit northern China in one of the worst cold snaps in December, prompting authorities in the capital to halt train services, close schools and tell people to stay at home.

A large amount of cold air arrived in Beijing from the west, marking the second cold wave this week. City officials have issued the second-highest blizzard warning as of Thursday, the only such warning so far in the country.

To prevent chaos due to fears of a “prolonged” spell of snowfall, the city of about 22 million closed all schools and moved classes online from Wednesday. Businesses were told to offer employees flexible working conditions and staggered commute times.

“We will try not to travel,” said Liu, a 36-year-old Beijing resident, whose child’s school was closed for the second time since Monday due to snow.

“It’s cold, and the roads are definitely bad.”

Scenic spots in the mountainous north and west have been temporarily closed.

Some railway services along major cities, such as Shanghai, Hangzhou and the commercial hubs of Wuhan, were suspended. Trains that were still running moved slowly, causing delays. But Beijing’s capital airport remained operational.

Temperatures in Beijing could drop as low as minus 18 degrees Celsius (minus 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit) this weekend, while the average temperature in mid-December is minus 8 degrees Celsius (17.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Even Shanghai in the south, which is now experiencing mild weather of 20 degrees Celsius (68 F), is forecast to be hit by cold weather of up to minus 4 degrees Celsius (24.8 F) on Saturday and Sunday. .

More than 6,000 rescue workers have been called out to respond to road emergencies and more than 5,800 pieces of snow removal equipment and machinery are on standby.

About 32,000 metric tons of snow-melting agent has been prepared for use on icy roads and motorways.

City officials mobilized volunteers to shovel snow and ice, and ordered increased indoor heating, in addition to the 73,000 people on duty to deal with these tasks.

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The last time such cold weather occurred in Beijing was on January 7, 2021, when the temperature dropped to minus 19.6 C (minus 3.28 F). The city’s all-time lowest temperature of minus 27.4 C (minus 17.32 F) was recorded on February 22, 1966.

This week’s bitter cold, compared to autumn-like conditions a week ago, reflects recent sharp temperature swings. October was one of Beijing’s most extreme weather conditions in decades.

While northern China continues to grapple with colder than normal conditions, winter in Hangzhou will officially begin on Dec. 16, two weeks behind schedule and the latest since records began in 1951.

The city near Shanghai recorded temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius for five consecutive days to announce the arrival of winter.

frozen rivers

Temperatures could drop more than 14 degrees Celsius in many parts of northern, northwestern and southern China, as well as Inner Mongolia, Guizhou province and even areas south of the Yangtze River, weather officials said.

Issuing its first alert since 2013 against cold temperatures, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) urged local governments to take precautions as well as measures to protect tropical crops and aquatic produce.

It forecast widespread rain and snow across central and eastern regions through Friday, with snow storms dropping up to 30 mm (1.2 inches) in parts of Shaanxi, Henan and Shandong provinces.

It said the cumulative snowfall during the same period could be the highest in a decade.

Many rivers in Heilongjiang, the vast northeastern province bordering Russia, have already frozen over.

The NMC said daily rainfall at about 130 weather stations in provinces such as Shanxi, Henan, Shaanxi and Hebei since December 10 has exceeded “extreme” in December.

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