China: Army 'loses edge' in the snow says expert

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Recent maps show that people living in Russia, China and neighbouring Eastern European and Asian countries have braved extreme lows. Over the last few days, a cold snap has swept across that part of the world, forcing temperatures far below zero. In some cases, weather authorities have recorded lows so far below the seasonal average they have broken records.

China’s weather agency issued its first snowstorm alert on the weekend.

The November 7 orange advisory, the second-highest the National Meteorological Centre (NMC) can issue, warned residents of severe blizzards.

Officials forecast blizzards in the northeast, where some regions saw up to 45 millimetres (1.8 inches) in 24 hours.

As snow descended, affected areas recorded temperatures as low as -25C, with -10C and lower as the wave lapped at the country’s centre.

In some cases, the system caused a nearly 14C deficit.

Snow in the northeast came 23 days earlier than usual, as officials traditionally expect the first snowfall around early December.

They also expected Sunday’s temperatures to reach the region’s lowest for a decade.

The cold snap toppled temperatures across China from Beijing and Shanghai on the east coast down to Guangzhou further south.

The sudden chill comes with a host of dangers for those living in its path.

Colder weather increases the risk of illnesses such as colds, the flu and COVID-19.

Several regions have recently recorded an uptick in Covid cases often associated with the winter months.

Previous cold snaps, such as a notable one in 2008, have frozen power lines and stranded passengers at train stations.

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Pictures and videos from China show similar difficulties with the recent weather.

Heavy loads have overburdened some builders, and in one case, collapsed a vegetable market.

Over the weekend, authorities closed 190 icy sections of the country’s national highways, shuttering routes across nine provinces.

On the other hand, snow also provided a chance for creativity, with elaborate ice sculptures popping up on street corners.

China is just one country within the cold snap’s influence.

According to weather maps, other East Asian countries experienced similar drops.

North Korea saw a less severe decline, with temperatures around -10C at their lowest.

Japan saw a brisk chill with 1C to 2C lows that will likely fall further to around -1C to -2C later this week.

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