Snow, icy winds and freezing temperatures are forecast for Beijing until Thursday, as an unusual weather pattern brings an early winter to the capital.
He Lifu, chief forecaster of the National Meteorological Center (NMC), said the cold front arrived yesterday and would result in discontinuous snow and a minimum temperature of -5 C.
Snowfall is forecast to finish on Nov 12, but the temperature will not increase beyond 10 C, He said.
Zhang Peiqun, director of the climate service department of the National Climate Center (NCC) said northern China had entered winter early.
"Not only north of China but also the northern hemisphere is also entering winter earlier partly due to an El Nino weather pattern and the atmospheric circulation," Zhang said.
El Nino, meaning "little boy" in Spanish, is driven by an abnormal warming of the Pacific Ocean and creates unusual weather patterns across the Asia Pacific. In China, it has been linked to this year's early onset of winter, including recent snowfall.
He Lifu, NMC chief forecaster, said: "Northwest of the country will welcome its first snow before Thursday."
"While snow hits the north part of the country, rainfall will come to the south of the country, relieving the drought situation."
Meanwhile, Beijing's heating office urged suppliers to adjust heating systems in order to keep the indoor temperatures at 18 C .
Guo Weiqi, director of Beijing heating office, said yesterday: "Since the temperature is dropping, heating suppliers should adjust their systems according to the outdoor temperature."
Li Nan, committee member of Beijing municipal commission of administration and environment, said almost all boilers had been ignited yesterday.
The administration was trying to resolve heating disputes between suppliers and residents and to ensure all residents had access to heating by Nov 15, he said.