Chinese state media say some of the snow was induced through cloud seeding.

Hebei blizzards

Hebei's provincial capital, Shijiazhuang, received the heaviest snowfall. In the past three days, the snow accumulation there reached over half a metre, the heaviest since 1955, the China Meteorological Administration said.

More than 7.5 million people have been stranded or otherwise affected by the storms.

State media have reported at least two deaths were caused by the collapse of buildings, including a school cafeteria.

Beijing has been hit by three successive waves of snow, causing havoc on roads and forcing the cancellation or delay of scores of flights.

The capital and surrounding areas are ill prepared to deal with such heavy snow, with few ploughs or road de-icing supplies.

Snow tyres and chains are not used and many drivers simply leave their cars at home and turn to public transport in such conditions.

The impact has been far greater in the surrounding provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Shandong and Henan, where highways have been closed, schools shuttered, and crews sent to rescue people from their homes.