Temperatures have plummeted in eastern Asia as the coldest weather in decades hits the region.

The frigid air blasted south from the Arctic, with Beijing seeing a maximum temperature of just -13C on Saturday.

The cold air then continued south, ensuring that since 3am on Saturday night, Shanghai’s temperature has remained below freezing. The temperature should be nearer 8C at this time of year, but on Sunday the maximum was -4C.

In Chongqing, residents were treated to their first snowfall since 1996. The unusual weather paralysed parts of the city, leaving thousands of travellers stranded at the airport.

Meanwhile in the southeastern province of Fujian, freezing rain coated the landscape with thick ice. The weight of the frozen water caused trees to bow and powerlines to snap, triggering numerous powercuts.

The cold weather dug further south still, sending temperatures in Taiwan and southern China spiralling.

Taipei’s daytime temperature dropped from 15C to 8C, and Hong Kong’s temperature has dropped steadily throughout the day and the night since Thursday.

On Sunday, the temperature dipped to 4C in the major financial centre, its lowest point in nearly 60 years. Frost is currently dusting the surrounding mountain tops, but the cold snap is now coming to an end.

Conditions should improve across the region over the next few days as the cold air gradually subsides.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies