Early snow in northern China threatens to deepen energy crisis – Snow in Beijing falls 23 days ahead of schedule


A climatic phenomenon known as La Niña brought early snow as temperatures dropped in northern China over the weekend, as the country grapples with its worst energy crisis in a decade.

Most of the country, including Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Inner Mongolia, received its first significant snow and rainfall of the winter on Saturday, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) reported Sunday.

The National Meteorological Administration said that the northeastern provinces are likely to experience heavy snowfall in the coming days and that cold waves will continue to move south and affect much of China.

A yellow cold warning, the third-highest level, has been issued for residents.

The CMA warned Friday that the cold snap and snowfall could have a “negative impact” on the country’s power supply, agriculture and transportation infrastructure.

“We must pay attention to the negative impact it has on energy supply, human health, pandemic control, infrastructure and agriculture,” the notice said.

“Inner Mongolia, northern and northeastern regions should prepare for the negative impacts of heavy snow and precipitation on the transportation system, outdoor work and the east coast.”

Meteorological experts also warned that extreme weather is likely to increase pressure on the country, as some regions have already faced sharp increases in fuel prices and power shortages in recent months.

In recent days, Chinese climatologists said La Niña is likely to bring colder and more erratic climates to much of China this winter, with heavy precipitation in the north.

La Niña is a complex weather pattern caused by fluctuating water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, bringing warm water westward and affecting weather in large parts of the world.

Jia Xiaolong, deputy director of the National Climate Center, told Economic Daily that central China also needs to prepare for outages that can be caused by rain and cold weather affecting power and transportation networks.

The first snowfall in Beijing fell on Saturday, 23 days earlier than usual, according to the Beijing Meteorological Bureau.

The cold waves brought 2 cm to 8 cm (0.8 to 3 inches) of snow to the city, which will host the Winter Olympics in February.

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