The normal elements of the season such as snow, low temperatures and fog were not just affecting a few, but dozens of provinces.
In China’s Inner Mongolia province, temperatures were some of the lowest in the world this weekend, ranking only second to temperatures experienced in northeastern Siberia.
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The small community of Tuhile would normally see a frosty -19C as a high and -34C as the overnight low in the month of January. Over the weekend, it fell much lower, down to -44C. The winds across the area didn’t help, making the temperatures feel more like -52C!
For southeastern China, it was the provinces of Jiangxi and Hunan where snow brought major disruptions. Weather warnings were issued on Friday and by the end of the weekend snow accumulations ranged from two to four metres for the cities of Jiujiang, Manchang and Yichun.
The higher elevations in these provinces faired much worse for travellers as icy road conditions brought traffic to a standstill. Crews were already on standby to assist the stranded and help clear highways from snow and to spread salt.
On the highways in Sichuan province dense fog proved extremely dangerous as approximately 30 vehicles were involved in a pileup on Sunday morning. Visibility dropped to less than 20 metres in some areas.
Airline passengers were also affected. At Chengdu’s airport, 10,000 people were stranded as the fog was responsible for 100 delayed or cancelled flights.
Passengers at Kunming airport endured three days of cancellations, but when flight updates stopped, tempers boiled over. Passengers smashed check-in counters and clashed with ground crew, until finally riot police had to be called.