China’s cold winter temperatures dip to new low

AP, BEIJING

Mon, Jan 07, 2013 - Page 5

China is experiencing unusual chills this winter with its national average temperature hitting the lowest in 28 years, and snow and ice have closed highways, canceled flights, stranded tourists and knocked out power in several provinces.

China Meteorological Administration on Friday said the national average was minus 3.8°C since late November, the coldest in nearly three decades.

The average temperature in northeast China dipped to minus 15.3°C, the coldest in 43 years, and dropped to a 42-year low of minus 7.4°C in northern China.

In some areas — northeastern China, eastern Inner Mongolia, and north part of far-western Xinjiang province — the low has hit -40°C, the administration said.

The state-run, English-language China Daily reported on Friday that about 1,000 ships were stuck in ice in Laizhou Bay in eastern China’s Bohai Sea.

The meteorological administration said on Saturday that ice had covered 27,000m2 of the sea surface by Thursday, the most expansive since 2008 when authorities began to collect such data. The administration expects the ice to continue to grow.

In southwest China’s Sichuan Province, more than 1,000 tourists were stranded on Wednesday in a scenic mountainous area because of icy road, the state-run Beijing News reported.

The national meteorological administration said China is seeing dropping temperatures partly because of south-moving polar cold fronts, caused by melting polar ice from global warming.

It said the air is moist and likely to dump heavy snow in China, Europe and North America.

On Saturday, the forecast by China’s National Meteorological Center said southern China would have more snow and rain in the coming days.