Large parts of northern China, including the capital Beijing, have been hit by freezing temperatures and record snowfall, blanketing streets and causing travel delays.
- A cold wave earlier this week saw temperatures plunge by as much as 14 degrees Celsius
- Snowstorms blocked roads and halted travel
- Recent snowfall in the region has been the heaviest since records began 70 years ago
China’s National Meteorological Agency raised an orange blizzard warning – the second-highest in China’s four-tiered alert system – with snowfall of up to 30 centimetres forecast in coming days.
The country’s first snowfall of the year came a month earlier than usual, according to the Beijing Meteorological Bureau.
Snowstorms have wreaked havoc in the region with slippery road conditions for motorists, and one weather-related fatality reported by the People’s Daily newspaper.
Traffic in Liaoning province was severely disrupted, with the majority of expressway toll stations shut earlier this week.
Train and bus stations were also closed, except those in the cities of Dalian and Dandong.
Since the arrival of a cold wave on Sunday, temperatures had plunged by as much as 14 degrees Celsius in some areas.
Zhou Chunxiao, chief forecaster at the Liaoning Provincial Meteorological Observatory, said recent snowfall in western Liaoning had been the heaviest since records began in 1951, according to state-run China News Weekly.
A maximum snow depth of 53 centimetres was recorded in the Liaoning city of Anshan on Tuesday, the report added, citing the China Meteorological Association.
The north-eastern region has also stepped up efforts to keep homes warm, with authorities working to increase energy production capacity and coal imports.
China’s State Grid Corp warned on Sunday of a “tight balance” between power supply and demand through the winter.
Wide swathes of the country — including north-eastern China — have suffered outages since May as soaring prices and tight supply of coal restricted operations at power plants.