China is currently grappling with an intense cold wave, which has led to significant disruptions across the nation. The cold front has caused temperatures to plunge below freezing in most regions, prompting authorities to implement traffic restrictions on highways in several provinces due to hazardous conditions caused by icy roads and collisions. The National Meteorological Centre of China forecasts that temperatures could plummet to below -40 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees Fahrenheit) in areas including Heilongjiang, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Gansu, and Qinghai.
This cold wave, which commenced earlier this week, is expected to continue its southward movement, leading to even lower temperatures over the weekend, despite a predicted decrease in rain and snow. Yichun, a city in Heilongjiang, is bracing for potentially record-breaking cold temperatures, surpassing the January 1980 record of -47.9 C. Henan province has experienced multiple accidents on expressways due to snow, ice, and heavy fog, leading to traffic controls. Neighboring regions like Ningxia and Gansu have also been affected, with highway closures and suspended train services.
Shanghai, China’s financial hub, has issued its first cold wave warning of the year, anticipating temperatures to drop to -6 C this weekend. In the southwest, Tibetan cities such as Shigatse and Nyingchi have faced highway blockages due to heavy snowfall and reduced visibility. To combat these conditions, the local government has deployed over 2,400 personnel and substantial amounts of snow melting agents and anti-skid materials. Meanwhile, regions like Beijing, Jiangxi, and Shanxi are taking preventive measures to protect agricultural produce from freeze damage.
Although the blizzard warning was lifted on Friday morning, heavy snowfall is still expected in parts of Liaoning, Jilin, and Shandong provinces. Shenyang, in Liaoning, has mobilized thousands of workers and machines for snow removal, clearing significant amounts of snow. The national forecaster indicates that the intensity of freezing rain will diminish on Friday, but it will persist in higher terrains of Guizhou and Hunan.