INTERNATIONAL

China to face coldest December snap in decades: What authorities said

Chinese authorities warned on Tuesday of heavy snowfall, blizzards and plunging temperatures this week in most parts of the country in what could be one of the coldest December snaps in China in decades.

A general view of the city on a snowy day in Beijing, China(REUTERS)

Beijing is expected to be hit by temperatures as low as minus 18 Celsius (minus 0.4 Fahrenheit) this weekend compared to around minus 8C (17.6F) on average in mid-December. Even Shanghai in the south could be buffeted by weather as frigid as minus 4C (24.8F) on Saturday through Sunday, unusual for this time of the year.

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Parts of north, northwest and south China, as well as parts of the Inner Mongolia region, Guizhou province and even regions south of the Yangtze River, could see temperatures slide by more than 14 degrees Celsius, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) cautioned.

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It has called on local governments to take precautions against the cold weather, advised the public to keep warm, and urged measures to be taken to protect tropical crops and aquatic produce.

Many rivers in Heilongjiang, a vast northeastern province that shares a border with Russia, have already frozen over.

Also on Tuesday, the China Meteorological Administration activated a Level-II emergency response – its second-highest emergency response level – for the cold wave and blizzards.

In Beijing, more than 6,000 people have been put on call for any road emergency rescues and 2,200 sets of snow-removal equipment and machinery are on standby for deployment.

Additionally, 32,000 tonnes of snow-thawing agent is ready for use on icy roads and motorways.

The Chinese capital last saw such cold weather on Jan. 7, 2021, when the temperature fell to minus 19.6C (minus 3.3F).

The cold snap in Beijing this week, compared with the autumn-like conditions a week ago, reflects the sharp oscillations in temperatures recently. In October, Beijing experienced one of its warmest Octobers in decades in a year of weather extremes.

Beijing’s all-time low temperature was minus 27.4°C (minus 17.3F), set on Feb. 22, 1966.

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