November 23, 2023
BEIJING – The strongest cold front since November is forecast to grip central and eastern China this week, with the mercury plummeting as low as -30 C in some areas, according to the National Meteorological Center.
The center put out a yellow warning for the cold snap, the third-highest level, and a blue warning for strong winds, the lowest level, on Monday.
From Tuesday through Thursday, blizzards are expected to hit eastern parts of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region and most parts of Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces, the center said.
Some areas will see between 6 and 15 centimeters of snow, with some areas reaching over 20 cm.
Cold waves will affect regions including Inner Mongolia, parts of northeastern China, and the Yellow, Yangtze and Huaihe river basins.
From Monday through Friday, these areas are expected to experience a drop in temperature between 6 C and 16 C.
Compared to the cold air that has affected China since November, this cold snap will bring even greater temperature drops to northern regions and overlap with heavy snowfall in the northeast, posing a high risk of disasters that require reinforced prevention, the center said.
The northern regions and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau will likely face “low-temperature snow disasters”, and the demand for heating and energy consumption may surpass historical levels.
Southern regions may also experience freezing rain and snow, the center said.
The latest data from the National Climate Center in Beijing indicates that a moderate El Nino event is expected to persist until spring and may increase risks of meteorological disasters.
According to the World Meteorological Organization, El Nino is a naturally occurring climate phenomenon that starts with unusually warm surface water in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, which then goes on to affect the weather worldwide. On average, it occurs every two to seven years, and one episode typically lasts nine to 12 months.
The NMC said the combination of El Nino and global warming would increase the chances of meteorological disasters caused by extreme weather. It could also lead to a severe winter.
Since May, an El Nino system has been building up along the equator in the eastern Pacific Ocean.