While most of China has been enjoying warm summer sun, or suffering spring floods, the country's northwest has just had a surprise wintry blast of snow.

In Yiwu county, at the eastern end of the Tian Shan mountains in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, 15cm of snow covered the ground.

The region has been suffering drought since January, so the snow will relieve the dry conditions and speed up the growth of grass on its prairies, which are the main source of food for livestock in the region.

Yiwu is 1700m above sea level and on a river - a welcome sight to travellers from the east, after they have traversed the Gobi Desert.

Normal June temperatures in the region are in the high teens or low twenties during the day and remaining above freezing at night - with snow not expected.

No further snow is in the forecast, though rain showers are expected this weekend.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies