BEIJING (THE CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Many parts of China are expected to experience their lowest temperatures in decades over the weekend, with heavy snowstorms expected to persist in eastern and central areas.
Blizzards are expected to affect parts of Shanghai and Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Hubei and Hunan provinces.
Snowfall will be as deep as 20 to 25 cm in some areas, the National Meteorological Centre said on Thursday (Jan 21).
Parts of Anhui, Zhejiang and Fujian provinces and Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong, are expected to experience record-low temperatures, the centre said. Chilly weather is also expected in many other areas.
Chief forecaster Zhang Tao said: "The last time the country experienced a similar cold snap was in 1991, but the temperature drop will not be so sharp this time as we are already in midwinter."
In Beijing, the temperature is expected to plunge to minus 17 deg C on Saturday morning, close to the lowest recorded for 30 years, according to the municipal meteorological service.
Shanghai is also expected to experience its lowest temperatures for 30 years on Sunday and Monday morning, with minus 5 deg C to minus 7 deg C forecast in urban areas.
The warning of blizzards by forecasters has forced local authorities to close schools temporarily.
Schools in Hefei, Changsha and Changzhou have been told to start the winter holiday a few days early, while education authorities in Hangzhou had already halted lessons, local media reported.
The blizzard warning also triggered a run on supermarkets in parts of Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces as people rushed to buy daily necessities.
Some vegetable and meat vendors in Hangzhou sold all their stock for a single day within hours, news portal cztv.com reported.
Ms Zhang Xiaolan, a 34-year-old worker at an Internet company in Hangzhou, said she started to store daily supplies on Monday. She bought enough vegetables, fruit and pastries to last her family for four days.