A cold front will bring a blast of early winter weather across much of northern China today, including Beijing, where preparations are underway for the 18th National Party Congress, weather authorities warned.
Northern provinces were expected to get hit with wind, rain and snow as temperatures tumble towards zero. The capital was expected to shiver amid a wintery mix of precipitation, the Beijing Meteorological Bureau said.
The most severe temperature changes were expected in Inner Mongolia , Shaanxi and Shanxi.
Light snowfalls were expected in Inner Mongolia and Hebei, the China Meteorological Administration said.
Prompted by the cold blast, Beijing, Hebei and Shandong turned on their municipal heat supplies about two weeks ahead of schedule, China News Service said.
The coming cold front was unlikely to significantly affect the party congress, which begins on Thursday, as temperatures were expected to climb back to a high of 13 degrees by Tuesday.
Beijing Morning Post reported that local authorities were taking all precautions, such as making ready nearly 5,800 snow ploughs and stockpiling 22,000 tonnes of salt and sand. They had also inspected 21,000 buses to ensure they were ready for cold weather.
The capital's ability to cope with bad weather was severely tested when a flash flood killed 79 people in July. Municipal authorities said they were fully prepared for a potential snowfall before the all-important party congress.
The temperature dropped to six degrees in Beijing yesterday, down five degrees from Friday's high, bringing rain and strong northerly winds.
Sporadic snow is forecast today for suburban areas of the municipality.