A cold front accompanied by strong winds will continue to push down temperatures across the country in the coming two days.
A view shows the Tiananmen Rostrum in snow in Beijing Novemver 1, 2009. The first snowfall for the winter season fell on the Chinese capital early this morning, Sunday, November 1, 2009. [Xinhua]
Most parts of the country huddled up against the cold over the weekend as snow fell and the mercury dropped by nearly 10 C, while in North China temperatures plunged by more than 20 C yesterday.
Beijing's first snowfall this winter, which began on Saturday night and lasted until Sunday afternoon, surprised locals. Temperatures in the city hit a low of -3 C yesterday, the coldest since autumn began.
The municipal weather modification office used artificial means to increase the snow in order to ease the lingering drought.
"With the advent of the strong cold front, Beijing saw its first snow two months earlier than last year," said Guo Hu, head of the city's meteorological observatory.
Five routes to the mountainous areas of Beijing's suburbs were suspended due to safety concerns. By noon yesterday, more than 100 flights had been delayed by at least one hour and some were canceled, said officials at Beijing Capital International Airport.
People have been advised to wear more clothes, especially during the H1N1 flu outbreak. The National Meteorological Center (NMC) is requiring government agencies to prepare for potential emergencies.
Northeast China was also hit by the winter's first snowfall, with 10-25 mm falling in some areas.
In Yanji, Northeast China's Jilin province, branches of more than 8,000 city trees broke under the weight of snow. The storm forced the airport to close, and hit more than 5,400 hectares of farmland, causing economic losses of nearly 2.6 million yuan ($380,000), local media reported.
In eastern Shandong province, passenger shipping service between Yantai and Dalian in Liaoning was suspended.
North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region and Shanghai and Jiangsu province in the east also reported drastic decreases in temperatures.
Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang province, witnessed a drop of more than 10 C overnight.
The NMC forecast that northerly winds would continue and temperatures would plummet up to 14 C in areas of Liaoning province, Shandong peninsula, the southern region of Yellow-Huaihe river valley, the Yangtze-Huaihe river valley, and areas south of the Yangtze River.
Another cold wave is expected to visit the northern part of the country between Nov 6 to 7.
Xinhua contributed to the story