An aerial photo shows the natural beauty of soft rime along the Heilong River in Heihe, Heilongjiang province. (Photo by Wang Dianjie/For chinadaily.com.cn)
The National Meteorological Center has forecast that from Wednesday through Sunday, strong cold air will hit most parts of China and keep chilling the nation for the rest of January.
The weather process will bring about heavy snow, rain, fog and sandstorms, and will affect transportation, energy supply and public health, the center said.
The cooling process is not likely to result in consistent freezing weather as it did in 2008, the center said.
The good news is that the cold air will drive airborne pollutants away, the center said. In early January, temperatures in central and eastern China rose by 2 to 4 C more than in normal years, which was linked to an increase in smoggy weather.
Starting from Wednesday to Thursday, Northwest China will cool by as much as 20 C. Sandy and dusty weather is expected to sweep the region, part of which will experience sandstorms.
Till Saturday, the cold air will continue to move to the east and south, bringing about temperature drops of up to 20 C.
Heavy snowfall and even blizzards will hit many parts of China, including the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Hebei and Hubei provinces and Chongqing municipality. The precipitation is forecast to add snow cover of 5 to 8 centimeters in some areas.
On Tuesday, Hubei Emergency Management Department warned residents about carbon monoxide poisoning risks as doors and windows are often closed during extreme cold.
On Wednesday, the Jiangxi meteorological service said people need to be wary of icy roads on their way home, especially during the peak Spring Festival travel rush for the next 10 days.
At night from Wednesday through Saturday, heavy fog in Sichuan, Jiangsu, Zhejiang provinces and Hainan Island, will lower visibility to less than 200 meters, the center said.