China is experiencing a severe cold wave, with heavy snowfall and plummeting temperatures affecting transport and daily life across northern regions, including Beijing. President Xi Jinping has called for comprehensive emergency responses as temperatures drop significantly below freezing.
Northern China is experiencing one of its most severe cold snaps in December, with snow, blizzards, and temperatures plummeting across the region. This has led to significant disruptions in daily life and transport, particularly in Beijing, the nation’s capital.
On Friday, December 15, President Xi Jinping called for comprehensive emergency response efforts as the cold wave extended its grip over most of China.
Temperatures were expected to drop below -40 °C (-40 °F) in parts of Heilongjiang, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Gansu, and Qinghai provinces. In Beijing, a mass of cold air drifted in from the west, leading to the city officials issuing the second-highest alert for blizzards through Thursday.
To manage the chaos from what was anticipated to be a long-lasting round of snowfall, Beijing, a city of nearly 22 million, shut all schools from Wednesday and moved classes online. Businesses were advised to offer flexible working conditions and staggered commutes.
Railway services with key cities like Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Wuhan were suspended, and trains that were still running operated at slower speeds, causing delays. Despite these challenges, Beijing’s Capital Airport continued to operate. Temperatures in Beijing were expected to reach as low as minus 18 degrees Celsius over the weekend.
The National Meteorological Centre (NMC) issued its first alert since 2013 against freezing temperatures. Temperatures were forecasted to drop more than 14 °C (25 °F) across large areas of northern, northwestern, and southern China, as well as parts of Inner Mongolia and Guizhou province.
1 Second cold wave envelops China’s Beijing in snow, ice – Reuters – December 13, 2023
2 Cold wave grips northern China, south bracing for big chill – Reuters – December 14, 2023
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