China hit by eye-watering cold snap

Beijing, January 23

Much of China shivered today as a teeth-chattering cold snap broke decades-old records and snow fell in some parts for the first time in years, cancelling flights and forcing many indoors.

An orange alert was issued across the country as forecasts predicted eye-watering lows of -41 Celsius in some parts, the National Meteorological Centre said. Orange is the second most severe cold weather warning on China’s four-tier scale, and forecasters said 30-year records were on course of being shattered in several parts of the country over the weekend.

The north braced for the worst, with the temperatures predicted to plummet to -41 C in Genhe in Inner Mongolia. Neighbouring Mohe in Heilongjiang province didn’t fare much better with the mercury expected to dip to -39 C.

The NMC said temperatures would not peak above the freezing mark in most parts of the country, with the exception of a few spots in the south, and state-run CCTV television urged people to stay inside to avoid the frigid weather. More than 100 flights were cancelled in the southeast metropolis of Chongqing as snow blanketed the city for the first time in 20 years, airport authorities told AFP. Snow dumped down in several other regions where the white stuff is scarcely seen, according to CCTV citing weather officials.