Unseasonably cold weather and blizzards came early for northeast China on Monday, with the country’s most northernmost province, Heilongjiang, cancelling flights and closing schools, according to state media and government notices. Heilongjiang cancelled 49 flights, but operations were otherwise normal at the airport in its capital, Harbin, the government said in a statement.
Most parts of Harbin suspended primary and secondary schools, kindergartens, and off-campus training institutions, according to the government’s official Wechat account, as snow and freezing temperatures hit the region.
China’s weather authority warned of a drastic drop in temperature in coming days, along with blizzards, anticipated to substantially affect several cities, state media reported.
“The season changed outside overnight,” a netizen from Heilongjiang complained on Weibo, China’s popular social media platform.
Late Sunday, Heilongjiang issued a red alert – the country’s highest weather advisory – as cities in the province were expected to 20 mm (0.787 inches) to 40 mm (1.575 inches) of precipitation from Sunday evening to Monday evening, according to Chinese weather forecasters, China Daily reported.
Heavy snowfall is also expected in parts of Inner Mongolia, and Hebei, Jilin and Liaoning provinces, China Daily reported.
Liaoning and Jilin provinces also suspended schools.
The Central Meteorological Observatory said temperatures in many regions will drop by 6 degrees to 10 degrees Celsius, with some areas experiencing a fall of more than 16 degrees Celsius, state media said.
On Sunday, the Central Meteorological Observatory issued an orange alert for blizzards in several areas, China Daily said, while China’s National Meteorological Center issued an orange alert for blizzards and a blue alert for cold waves and strong wind, Global Times reported.
China has a four-tier color-coded weather alert system, with red the highest, followed by orange, yellow and blue.
The cold forced governments in Beijing and Tianjin to start making preparations to supply heat earlier than usual, according to city government notices.
“It’s freaking freezing today. My ears are almost falling off from the cold!” said another Weibo from Shandong.
Over the past week, northern China has experienced unseasonably odd contrasts in weather from smog to logging the second-warmest October in decades and then a sharp drop in temperatures over the weekend.
The Central Meteorological Administration said this week most of the northeast is expected to see temperatures dive to the single digits or below freezing as cold air moves east and south.
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