Cold snap sends temperatures tumbling during long holiday in China

The cold front has brought snow to the Hami prefecture in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region in northwestern China, since Oct 1. PHOTO: XINHUA

BEIJING - A strong cold front sweeping from north to south has sent temperatures plummeting in many parts of China, with more chilly weather expected on Sunday (Oct 8).

Residents in the north were also bracing for more smog on Friday (Oct 6), according to the National Meteorological Centre.

China is enjoying an eight-day holiday starting last Sunday for National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival. Yet, many people in the north have had to celebrate the two occasions in the coldest weather for years, China Daily reported.

The highest temperature in Beijing on Monday was 19 deg Celsius, down by 7 degrees from the day before. Some areas in the northeast have experienced a drop of between 12 to 20 deg Celsius, bringing temperatures to below zero.

Due to the cold front, the northeastern part of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region experienced its coldest Mid-Autumn Day in a decade on Wednesday, when the mercury fell by more than 10 deg Celsius, reported China Daily.

The region is likely to see snow, according to forecasts by the local meteorological centre.

The authorities have warned motorists about potentially icy road conditions and suggested that travellers keep themselves warm when they return home from other parts of China after the long holiday.

Some 461 million Chinese tourists travelled around the country in the first four days of the long holiday, the China National Tourism Administration said on Wednesday, according to Xinhua news agency.

The cold front has also affected the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region in northwestern China, bringing snow to Hami prefecture and Ili Kazak autonomous prefecture. Hami prefecture saw its first snowfall this autumn last Sunday. Snowfall in some areas there has reached 20cm, according to China Daily.

Meanwhile, Chongqing and Sichuan province in southwestern China as well as Hubei province in central China have been hit by heavy rains this week.

While rain and snow have caused inconvenience, some people have been enjoying the stunning views resulting from the cold snap.

Mr Ma Xin, 60, has spent the long holiday in Kanas, an area in Xinjiang's Altay prefecture famous for its lakes that are created by glacial movement.

"It suddenly began to snow on Thursday when I was taking pictures of the golden pine tree forests. It was just magical," he told China Daily.

Mr Ma, who lives in the regional capital, Urumqi, said he often visits Kanas to enjoy the scenery and noted that the snow had fallen earlier than usual this year.

However, he would be cutting short his trip to Kanas this year as he is concerned that icy roads would lead to slower traffic and massive jams when everyone rushes to go home at the end of the long holiday.

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