People cross a road near the Drum Tower amid snowfall in Beijing, China, December 13, 2023. REUTERS

BEIJING — Bitter cold swept across large parts of China on Thursday, while many areas in the south will see sharp drops in temperatures in the coming days, Chinese forecasters predicted.

The cold wave is widespread – moving from northern China, where several provinces have already been hit by snowfall, to central and southern areas such as Guizhou province – and penetrating deep into the lower part of the River Delta area. Yangtze.

“This cold wave is powerful, at the end of this week it will be a big move south,” weather analyst Wang Weiyue said, according to state media CCTV.

Northerly winds have hit many parts of China and temperatures will fall, national forecasters predicted, with some northeastern cities such as Shenyang and Harbin recording readings as low as minus 26 to minus 27 degrees Celsius (minus 17 degrees Fahrenheit) by Jan. December. in what would be the lowest readings this year, according to national broadcaster CCTV.

Weather graphs and maps posted on social media have revealed how quickly the weather is deteriorating, even in the south, with temperatures in areas of the southern provinces dropping by more than 14°C or even 20°C.

“I finally know what freezing purple means,” wrote one netizen on Weibo, a social media app, referring to the color codes of the country’s coldest areas.

For the second day in a row, several areas recorded record low temperatures. Parts of the Inner Mongolia region and Shaanxi, Jilin and Liaoning provinces witnessed temperature drops of more than 20°C accompanied by strong gusts of wind, China's National Meteorological Center (NMC) said.

Gale warnings were also issued in Xinjiang, western Tibet, the Ningxia region, Qinghai province and parts of Inner Mongolia, according to meteorologists.

The cold forced governments to continue closing schools. Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, urged parents to implement home learning for kindergarten, primary and secondary school children.

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