Beijing records longest cold wave in modern history

By Xiaofei Xu, CNN

CNN  —  Beijing recorded its longest cold wave since records began in 1951 as the biting temperatures and snowfall experienced in the Chinese capital and elsewhere began to ease.

The temperature recorded at Beijing’s Nanjiao weather station rose to above zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) Sunday afternoon for the first time in days, state media Beijing Daily reported.

A giant panda rests on a tree at a zoo after a snow fall in Beijing, Monday, Dec. 11, 2023. An overnight snowfall across much of northern China prompted road closures and the suspension of classes and train service on Monday.

“Since temperature first dropped to below zero degrees on December 11, the temperature had remained below that line for more than 300 hours,” Beijing Daily wrote.

A strong cold wave swept through most of China this month, pushing the heating capacity of some cities in northern China to its limit.

China’s central province of Henan has seen multiple system failures.

People hold a rope as they climb down an icy section of the Great Wall of China at Badaling, north of Beijing, after an overnight snowfall on December 15, 2023.

In the city of Jiaozuo, heating was partially halted after a dysfunction at the Wanfang power plant on Friday. The problem was solved on Saturday and heating is expected to resume Sunday night, according to the official newspaper of the city, Jiaozuo Daily.

Two other cities in the province, Puyang and Pingdingshan, have cut heating to most government buildings and state-owned enterprises since Friday to “prioritize limited heating resources for hospitals, schools and residential buildings,” according to statements from the two cities’ governments.

The cold weather in capital Beijing began days ago and has caused issues with the city’s metro system.

Hundreds of commuters, dozens of them with fractured bones, were sent to the hospital in Beijing earlier this month after two trains collided on a busy metro line during snowy conditions, the city’s transportation authority said.

The bitter temperatures also hampered rescue efforts after a deadly earthquake this month in northwest Gansu province.

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