BEIJING (Reuters) - Harsh winter weather across parts of China could disrupt transport and strain energy supplies. Here is a summary of major weather developments and their impact.
This factbox will be updated frequently throughout winter.
Freezing rain will continue to pummel the southern provinces of Guizhou and Hunan for a week, with heavy snow forecast to hit Hunan today.
Torrential icy rain across five provinces in southern China has forced 58,000 people to evacuate from their damaged homes, the ministry of civil affairs said on Wednesday.
In Hunan, heavy snow is likely to hit its northern part as icy rain continues in the next few days.
In the Altay prefecture in the far western region of Xinjiang — home to massive Chinese oil and gas projects and vast deposits of untapped coal — temperatures have plunged by 12.8-20.7 degrees celsius in the past 48 hours to minus 35 degrees.
Freezing rain over the weekend in China’s central and southern provinces, including Hunan, Guizhou and Guangxi, forced road closures and trapped more than 7,000 people and 3,000 vehicles on highways.
In Guizhou province, one of the hardest hit regions, state media reported that all highways had been temporary closed, but reopened by late Monday morning.
By midday on Monday the airport in Guizhou’s capital city of Guiyang had resumed normal operations, and a 15 kilometer-long traffic backup in the southern province of Guangxi began to clear, Xinhua news agency reported.
Intermittent freezing rain is forecast for Guizhou province in the coming week, and dangerous road conditions are expected to persist, state media said.
Temperatures in other parts of China remained low, with extreme lows expected to sink below minus 24 degree Celsius in China’s northwestern Xinjiang province and northeastern Heilongjiang province on Monday night.
Heavy snow has forced shipping delays in China’s port city Yantai in Shandong province, but airports and highways are still open. Snow and strong winds will continue over the next couple of days.
Snow is expected to fall on northern China while temperatures drop in the south.
Northwestern China will face temperature drops of up to 10 degrees Celsius with snow storms likely.
Southeast China will face further temperature falls in the next two days, dropping by up to 10-12 degrees Celsius with strong wind and sand storms.
Parts of Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and northeastern China continue to be hit by heavy snow, which have affected transport links.
Temperatures in parts of northwest China will fall by up to 16 degrees Celsius, touching lows of minus 26.
In Qinghe in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, temperatures will hit minus 40 degrees Celsius.
Heavy fog is lingering in the southwestern province of Yunnan and the southern province of Hunan.
Average temperatures in most parts of China fell nearly 10 degrees Celsius to below zero today.
Temperatures in the northern part of the usually warm southern province of Guangdong hit a low of minus two degrees at night. Sixty-two cities have issued the cold weather alarm.
Snowstorms in the Tacheng city in the northwestern region of Xinjiang have brought lows of minus 25 degrees Celsius.
Electricity and transportation were shut down in the city, with heating systems also affected in some areas.
In the Yellow Sea, chunks of floating ice are likely to be five centimeters thick.
Most parts of China are warming up today with snow in the north and fog in the south. But a cold snap is set to sweep the country later this evening.
In Heilongjiang province in the northeast, two provincial highways in the east are closed today due to heavy snow.
On Christmas Day, more than 400 people were trapped on roads as snow piled two meters thick.
Temperatures are likely to fall to minus 20 degrees Celsius in most parts.
The southwestern provinces of Chongqing and Guizhou will experience heavy fog.
Most parts of China are suffering cold weather on Friday. In the north, average temperatures are below zero degrees Celsius, and temperatures are below 10 degrees Celsius in the usually warm south.
Capital city Beijing is likely to see lows of minus 11 degrees Celsius, but with clear skies.
In financial hub Shanghai, it is expected to snow in the evening with temperatures hitting minus one degree Celsius on Saturday.
In Urumqi, capital of the far western region of Xinjiang, the airport was shut twice on Thursday due to thick snow, affecting more than 40 flights.
In Inner Mongolia in the north, more than 300 people were stuck in a traffic jam after snowstorms blocked a major road on Thursday afternoon, the official China Daily said.
Most parts of China were seeing another round of cold weather with average temperatures falling 6 to 10 degrees Celsius starting from Thursday to close to freezing in many parts.
In Heilongjiang province in the far northeast, there could be heavy snows with temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius.
Parts of central and southern China are also likely to be hit by snow, including rural Anhui and Hubei provinces.
Heavy fog is lingering in southwestern parts of China while fog, which delayed hundreds of flights in Dalian, a port city in the northeast province of Liaoning, was clearing.
Much of northern China will see temperatures fall 12 to 16 degrees Celsius close to freezing or colder, with strong winds.
In the capital Beijing, the maximum temperature is likely to fall to 2 degrees Celsius on Thursday and Friday.
Snowfall is likely to spread in northeastern provinces.
Heavy fog is lingering in most parts of central and southern provinces, including Hunan, Chongqing and Guangxi.
In the southern province of Guangdong, temperatures rose to highs of up to 20 degrees Celsius, ending a cold snap.
Northern China will suffer colder temperatures and strong wind in the next few days.
In the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, the temperature will dive nearly 10 degrees Celsius to minus 27 degrees Celsius with heavy snow also expected.
In Huizhou in the far southern province of Guangdong, agricultural products worth 220 million yuan ($33 million) have been damaged by the cold weather, posing a threat to the task of stabilizing vegetables prices, the China News Service reported.
The temperature in the region fell to 2.3 degrees Celsius, the lowest in 35 years, the report said.
Most parts of China should have good weather in the next three days with little rain, while parts of northwestern and northeastern provinces will see snow, including a blizzard in northwest Xinjiang.
A cold front with rain, snow, wind and low temperatures will affect most parts of central and eastern China from December 22.
Hubei, Henan and Shaanxi provinces have seen coal consumption soaring following the cold weather.
In Hubei, 14 power stations had a total of 1.8 million tonnes of coal last week compared to 3.7 million tonnes in September, leaving them with reserves equivalent to 12 days of demand, the China Daily said.
The shortage of coal has led to power cuts and energy rationing in parts of coal-rich Shaanxi and other provinces.
Guangdong province in far southern China experienced the lowest mean temperatures for mid-December since 1975, with temperatures of 5 degrees Celsius or lower across the province icing over parts of the major Beijing-Zhuhai highway, holding up thousands of trucks, according to Xinhua news agency and other news reports.
Snow and sleet in other parts of southern China closed some smaller airports while major hubs remained opened.
Warmer weather in coming days could also bring fog, said the national forecaster.
Across northern China, however, Beijing and other cities saw higher temperatures after a cold plunge in past days, with temperatures down 6-8 degrees across much of the country. ($1=6.59 Yuan) (Editing by Sui-Lee Wee)