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Cold wave to bring snow, freezing rain to central and eastern regions

China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-20 08:58
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Police officers shovel away snow to rescue a car that slid off a road and got stranded in Fuyun county, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on Sunday. A cold snap sent the temperature in the county to a record low of -52.3 C. LI MINGJI/FOR CHINA DAILY

A cold wave is expected to cause a steep drop in temperatures in central and eastern parts of China as it moves toward the east and south, the country's meteorological authority said on Monday.

The National Meteorological Center said northern China experienced strong winds, widespread sandstorms, dramatic temperature drops and rainy and snowy weather on Sunday, the first day after the eight-day Spring Festival holiday. Meanwhile, temperatures in the south continued to rise.

Temperatures dropped across northern China, with some areas seeing falls of more than 20 C.However, temperatures soared above 30 C in provinces such as Hunan, Guizhou and Sichuan. In Hunan, Hubei and Jiangxi, more than 30 weather stations recorded their highest February temperature, the center said.

The temperature difference across the country in a single day reached a record-breaking 90.3 C on Sunday. A record low temperature of -52.3 C was observed in Fuyun county, Altay prefecture, in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in the morning, while the temperature soared to 38 C in Ceheng county, Guizhou, in the afternoon.

On Monday, the center renewed an orange alert for a cold wave, a yellow alert for heavy fog, and a blue alert for strong winds and sandstorms.

The center said that the north of the country is expected to experience the most extensive and intense snowfall of this round of cold air on Tuesday. Light to moderate snowfall or sleet will hit parts of the Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Xizang autonomous regions, Qinghai, the eastern part of Northwest China, North China, the Yellow River, Yangtze River and Huaihe River basins, and the Jianghan plain. Some of these areas will experience heavy snowfall or blizzards.

From Monday through Thursday, central and eastern China will experience large-scale rainy, snowy and freezing weather and notable temperature fluctuations. Temperatures in areas such as the Jianghan plain and the Jiangnan area — covering the area south of the Yangtze River and the northern part of southern China — will plunge by 12 to 16 C. Temperature drops in parts of southern Guizhou and southern Hunan will exceed 20 C. The highest temperatures in some parts of Shanxi, Henan, Shandong and Hubei will hit historically low levels.

The center of snowfall will move southward on Wednesday, and the south will see an increase in precipitation. Parts of Shandong, Henan, Jiangsu, Anhui and Hubei will experience heavy snowfall or even blizzards. Freezing rain will hit northern Anhui, the Jianghan plain and central and northern Hunan, and heavy rainfall will hit southern Anhui, northern Jiangxi and western Zhejiang.

In light of the severe weather conditions, primary and secondary schools in Wuhan, Hubei province, will postpone the start of the new semester by one week to next Monday to ensure the safety of students.

With the Spring Festival travel rush continuing, meteorological authorities reminded transportation departments to deploy resources in advance and be wary of rainy, icy and foggy conditions affecting water, road and flight transportation.

Zhang Fanghua, chief forecaster at the center, said that as the cold air hits a warm and humid airflow, it will cause more intense rainfall and severe convective weather, adding that the intensity of snowfall and the intensity and duration of freezing rain will not exceed that seen in parts of Henan, Hubei and Hunan before Spring Festival.

China entered Rain Water, the second of the 24 solar terms, on Monday, heralding an increase in rainfall and a rise in temperatures. However, the center warned that low temperatures are expected to persist until the end of February.

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