Brace your­self for a cold snap that’s head­ing south

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By WANG XIAOYU and ZHOU HUIYING Con­tact the writers at wangx­i­[email protected]­

A cold wave sweep­ing across the coun­try has pushed the mer­cury down by 6 to 8 C across much of cen­tral and east­ern China, prompt­ing the Na­tional Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Cen­ter to is­sue its sec­ond blue alert for a cold snap this week on Wed­nes­day.

This win­ter’s first blue alert for cold — the least se­vere — was is­sued on Tues­day evening.

The cold spell is ex­pected to per­sist through Sun­day. As it heads south, the freez­ing air will reach as far as the mid­dle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the cen­ter said.

Un­der its in­flu­ence, the tem­per­a­ture in Bei­jing will drop to -10 C or lower this week, the cold­est in at least a decade. The cold­est early De­cem­ber day in re­cent years in the city was Dec 5, 2008, when tem­per­a­tures fell to -10 C.

The cen­tral parts of the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­tonomous re­gion and South China’s Guangxi Zhuang au­tonomous re­gion will see tem­per­a­tures drop more than 10 C, the cen­ter said.

The cold snap will also bring rain and snow to south­ern China, with parts of Hubei, An­hui and Jiangsu prov­inces forecast to see bl­iz­zards this week­end. Sleet and freez­ing rain are pro­jected to blast high-alti­tude ar­eas in Hu­nan, Guizhou and Hubei prov­inces this week.

Be­fore the freez­ing air poured into large parts of China, the coun­try’s north­ern ar­eas had al­ready been hit with wind chills and heavy snow.

As many as 5,000 tourists were stranded at Urumqi Di­wopu In­ter­na­tional Air­port in north­west­ern China’s Xin­jiang Uygur au­tonomous re­gion on Tues­day af­ter about 100 flights were can­celed due to days of heavy snow, China Na­tional Ra­dio re­ported.

China’s north­ern­most city, Mohe in Hei­longjiang prov­ince, is­sued a red alert for a cold snap on Mon­day, its first since records be­gan, be­fore the mer­cury plunged by 22.1 C to -41.1 C on Tues­day and dipped fur­ther to -42.7 C on Wed­nes­day.

A shroud of white mist blan­keted the city streets on Wed­nes­day morn­ing as water va­por in the air froze, ren­der­ing vis­i­bil­ity out­side to less than 100 me­ters on Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

“We have dis­patched po­lice to key sec­tions of the roads to guide traf­fic and pre­vent ac­ci­dents caused by frozen ice or snow,” said lo­cal po­lice of­fi­cer Wang Zhi­jia, who had donned his heav­i­est cloth­ing to brace against the bit­ter cold.

Frigid air trig­gered a pro­vin­cial level or­ange alert — the sec­ond most se­vere — by the Hei­longjiang Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Bureau on Tues­day as Harbin, the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal in the south, saw a low of -20 C this week.

How­ever, the deep freeze en­gulf­ing North China hasn’t damped down the pas­sion of tourists head­ing north to see the win­ter spec­ta­cle.

Tan Jian from the east­ern prov­ince of Jiangxi vis­ited Mohe on Wed­nes­day and rev­eled in throw­ing a cup of boil­ing water in sub­zero air, which in­stantly froze into an ice-mist spi­ral.

“It’s ab­so­lutely beau­ti­ful and ex­hil­a­rat­ing. The scene is unique to this place and I came here to ex­pe­ri­ence the cold­est of North China,” he said.

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