First autumn snows for northern China after temperatures plunge overnight

Several provinces see mercury drop below freezing as cold front sweeps across the country

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 October, 2017, 1:32pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 October, 2017, 4:38pm

Parts of northern China have experienced their first autumn snowfalls after a cold front spread across wide areas of the country causing dramatic falls in temperature.

Several cities in Gansu, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Hebei and Inner Mongolia were affected from Sunday, with temperatures dipping to minus 4 degrees Celsius over the weekend, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

Major cities including Jilin, Chifeng, Jinchang, Jiayuguan and Lanzhou experienced a sudden fall in temperature of around 12 degrees.

Normally at this time of year, average temperatures in Gansu province would be 17 degrees Celsius, and snowfall is particularly unusual.

This week’s snowfall was not the first in China: residents of Urumqi in Xinjiang in the far west of the country woke to find their surroundings covered by a few inches of unexpected snow in early August.

Photos and video from state media and social networks showed roads and buildings in northern China covered with a thick layer of snow.

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Some users on the social network Weibo were shocked that snowfall had come so early this year to Gansu and Ningxia in particular, while others boasted of warm temperatures in the south of the country.

“I’m pretty sure that winter doesn’t exist in Guangdong,” one commenter said.

“If you wear long sleeves in Guangxi, people will laugh at you!” another user wrote.

But the cold front is expected to affect southern provinces too later this week, with temperatures forecast to drop by 16 degrees in parts of Hunan, which recorded a sweltering 36 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

Parts of the southwest of the country have been battered by heavy rains over the past week. State media reported that 23 people had been killed and more than 5,200 homes destroyed.

Heavy rainfall since October 1 has caused widespread damage in southwestern Sichuan province and Chongqing municipality, the central provinces of Anhui, Henan and Hubei and in northwestern Shaanxi province, the ministry of civil affairs said.

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The ministry estimated direct economic losses from storm damage across the country at 3.26 billion yuan (US$490.3 million) and nearly 34,000 people had to leave their homes.