China's north shivers in snow while the south prepares for floods as the mercury climbs

A train runs in heavy snowfall in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region on Oct 9.
A train runs in heavy snowfall in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region on Oct 9.PHOTO: XINHUA

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - For Mr Li Qi, the first day of work after the eight-day National Day holiday seems rough both mentally and physically, due to the sharp drop in temperatures and a rain-triggered flight delay.

The 33-year-old IT worker and his family returned from the Philippines to Beijing on a flight that was scheduled to land on Sunday (Oct 8), the last day of the long National Day holiday. But low visibility due to fog and rain forced the aircraft to land at Shanghai instead.

Like Mr Li, many travellers were confronted with flight delays, and even cancellations, on Sunday and Monday because of the weather in Beijing.

Visibility dropped to 125m in the early hours of Monday. It improved as the morning wore on, but it still affected flights.

As of 10am, 133 flights at Beijing Capital International Airport had been cancelled, and the Civil Aviation Authority of China warned passengers in the north to be aware of possible cancellations and delays.

Mr Li's family was able to board a flight that landed in Beijing at 6am on Monday, and he went to work after two hours of sleep.

"I'm exhausted after the long holiday, especially on such a chilly day," he said.

Beijing has seen temperatures drop by 10 deg C since Sunday,-the result of a sweeping cold front-with a high of only 12 deg C on Monday. The cold will last until Wednesday, according to the National Meteorological Centre.

The cold front rolled across the vast northern, northeastern and northwestern regions, bringing rainfall and temperature drops of 6 to 10 deg C. The centre issued a warning about plunging temperatures on Monday, according to chief forecaster Zhang Fanghua.

In Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, residents saw their first snow of the season on Monday.

In other regions affected by the cold front, areas in Qinghai and Gansu provinces and the Ningxia Hui and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions had snow on Monday. Cold weather there will last two more days, the centre said.

In contrast, the vast southern and eastern regions, including Guangzhou, Guangdong province, saw sunshine and temperatures above 30 deg C on Monday. The heat will continue on Tuesday, Ms Zhang said.

But the cold front sweeping the north will start to affect the southern region beginning on Wednesday. The front is forecast to bring heavy rainfall, she said.

For the southwestern region, heavy rain is forecast for the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and its tributary, the Hanjiang River, which will result in flooding around Thursday, according to the Yangtze River Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters on Monday.

In response, the headquarters ordered the Three Gorges Reservoir to prepare for the heavy rain by cutting its outflow on Sunday and Monday to capture floodwaters.