China's cold snap reaches Shanghai with chilliest year-end in 40 years - GulfToday

China's cold snap reaches Shanghai with chilliest year-end in 40 years


People shovel snow from an overpass after heavy snowfall in Yantai, China' eastern Shandong province, on Thursday. AFP

China's financial hub Shanghai was set to record its chilliest period in December in four decades, spurring authorities to issue warnings for low temperatures and wind, while northern cities battled icy conditions forecast to ease only next week.

The city's lowest temperatures on Thursday will be minus 4˚C to minus 6˚C in Shanghai's suburbs, and temperatures will remain below zero all day throughout the city, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said in a post on its Weibo social media account.

Wang Kaiyun, 59, who works as a cleaner in downtown Shanghai and commutes from the city's suburbs on an electric scooter, said the temperature was minus 5˚C on her one-hour ride in on Thursday.

"Even though I was wearing gloves, I quickly lost feeling in my hands and they are still painful now," Wang said.

Snow1-Shanghai People walk on a snow-covered street during heavy snowfall in Weihai, Shandong province. AFP

While the city's temperatures remain far warmer than those in northern China, where many provinces have recorded historically low temperatures in recent weeks, the run of cold weather was unusual for Shanghai.

The city's weather bureau said it expects the minimum temperature at one downtown reading station to remain below zero for five straight days until Dec.25, a run of cold in the month of December that hasn't occurred in 40 years.

"This year is not normal. This year is super cold and it was not this cold last year," said 68-year-old Shanghai resident surnamed Li.

The unusually frigid weather ushered in by a powerful wave of cold air from Siberia has spread across China since the middle of last week, with many northern provinces rewriting December records as the mercury sank as low as minus 30 C in some cities.

While the snowfall was modest compared to deep snowdrifts and blizzards seen in North America and Europe, the bitter cold, ice and gusty conditions in China have disrupted road, rail and air transportation, sharply increased demand for heating, and even hampered rescue efforts in the northwest where an earthquake destroyed over 200,000 homes.

In Lvliang, a city of 3 million people in the province of Shanxi, firefighters had to put out a fire in a building even as their protective helmets and jackets quickly became encased in ice in minus 18 C conditions, state media reported on Thursday.

The cold snap has also threatened to freeze China's busy online food delivery sector.

On social media, some people have expressed their reluctance to order takeout in the extreme cold due to worries for the safety of delivery drivers.





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