Parts of China gripped by record-low temperatures as icy snap intensifies

BEIJING: Temperatures in parts of China, including in provinces Shanxi, Hebei and Liaoning, hit their lowest levels since records began, the state broadcaster said on Sunday (Dec 17), as a cold snap gripped large swathes of the country.

The city of Yichun in Heilongjiang could see a record low of -47.9 degrees Celsius, recorded in January 1980, broken early next week, according to a meteorological forecaster from the area.

The agriculture ministry launched an emergency response and the national disaster prevention body issued a directive to local authorities to prepare emergency plans, as well as snow and ice removal equipment.

“Storage of thermal coal should be done in advance to ensure the normal power generation of power plants during the critical period,” added the directive.

It also called on local authorities “to ensure that the national energy supply and demand are stable and orderly”.

On Friday, President Xi Jinping called for an “all-out” emergency response to the cold snap that began at the start of the week with snowfall and icy roads along with heavy fog causing multiple accidents on the roads.

But in a sign that conditions were improving in Beijing, the local forecaster reduced the severity of its weather warning for the residents and authorities said schools would reopen for in-person classes after shutting for several days last week. 

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