Periodic cold weather forecast from mid-January

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Icicles form Monday by dripping from a rocky overhang in a park in Shanghai. The temperature in the city dropped to -3 C in the morning. [Photo by YANG JIANZHENG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Periodic extremely cold weather is very likely to occur from mid-January to the end of February and is expected to cause icy roads, frozen electrical systems and communications facilities, a prominent Chinese meteorological expert said.

The weather will coincide with the Spring Festival travel rush, when large groups of migrant workers return home by train, plane and highway. The rush will run from Jan. 17 to Feb. 25, the Transportation Department said.

Jia Xiaolong, deputy director of the National Climate Center, told a press conference on Wednesday that areas in northern China are expected to experience more rainfall and lower temperatures than normal years, while residents of the provinces of the east and southwest will experience more foggy days.

“There is a need to take measures including machine melting snow and timely traffic guidance to minimize impacts such as highway closures or major traffic accidents,” Jia said.

Jia said that due to global warming, frequent extreme weather and climate events have become the norm.

This year, the weather and climate situation in China has been exceptional, with extreme weather events occurring frequently and widely, he said.

“The extreme cold in January and the extreme heat in February in central and eastern parts of China this year exemplified the exception,” he said.

Heavy sandstorms in northern China in March and the summer flood season were predominant.

Heavy rains in Zhengzhou, Henan Province in July hit a record high with maximum daily precipitation reaching 624 millimeters, close to the station’s annual rainfall of 641 mm, Jia said.

Fall flooding in most parts of China was also rare, after which cold spells swept through China. The regional strong convection weather processes have been characterized by extremely strong winds, frequent tornadoes and heavy short-term precipitation, he said.

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