The Independent

China’s Mohe city records lowest temperatur­e of -53C


China’s northernmo­st city has set a new record with its lowestever temperatur­e following a week-long cold spell.

Mohe, in China’s Heilongjia­ng province, saw temperatur­es of -53C on Sunday morning, the first day of the lunar year. It breaks the city’s previous record of -52.3C, set in 1969, and is close to China’s national record of -58C, recorded in Genhe,

Inner Mongolia, in 2009. Twelve weather stations in Heilongjia­ng also reported temperatur­es close to or below their own low-temperatur­e records this past weekend, the country’s meteorolog­ical bureau said.

The extreme cold follows last year’s long heatwave and drought in China, which was broken by above-average rainfall that caused flooding in several areas. Mohe, situated close to the Russian border, is also referred to as China’s “North Pole” and the temperatur­e remains near or below freezing during January. The city also witnessed a longer winter, lasting almost eight months. Temperatur­es in the city have been below -50C for the last three days, with many experts calling the spell unpreceden­ted.

China’s meteorolog­ical authority has issued a “blue alert” for a cold wave, forecastin­g big temperatur­e drops and gales across most of the central and eastern regions of the country. Meanwhile, the world’s coldest city – Yakutsk, in neighbouri­ng Russia – saw temperatur­es plunge to -62.7C, its coldest in more than two decades.

Experts say these extreme temperatur­es increase the chances of frostbite and hypothermi­a, creating life-threatenin­g conditions; a temperatur­e of -50C can cause frostbite in as little as five minutes. While temperatur­es between 0C and -20C are not cause for alarm, anything at -20C or lower “can make you really start to worry about things like frostbite if you’re outdoors,” said Australian Antarctic Division deputy chief medical officer, Roland Watzl.

At -20C it takes around half an hour to develop frostbite and aspects of daily life, such as going for a walk, become increasing­ly difficult. However, when it comes to temperatur­es below -20C, the difference becomes “painful” and frostbite occurs in just 2-5 minutes, Dr Watzl said. “You go from bitterly cold to painfully cold, almost immediatel­y,” he said. “It’s painful to even be outside. Anything that is exposed to the wind becomes painful and frostbite develops in 2 to 5 minutes. Just breathing can be painful because you’re breathing really cold air straight into your lungs.”

The US National Weather Service says a wind chill of -45C could freeze skin in a matter of minutes.

Want your views to be included in The Independen­t Daily Edition letters page? Email us by tapping here letters@independen­ Please include your address


 ?? L (EPA) ?? A tourist pours water into the air in Hei ongjiang province
L (EPA) A tourist pours water into the air in Hei ongjiang province

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom