Unusual winter weather is taking China by surprise, bringing rare snowfall to the southern province of Guangdong. In contrast, the northern regions are grappling with near-record low temperatures, causing disruptions in transportation. Even the capital, Beijing, experienced a train brake failure due to the extreme cold. Initial forecasts in November predicted a warmer winter linked to the El Nino phenomenon, but the current frigid conditions have defied expectations, following one of the warmest Octobers in decades. Guangdong, unaccustomed to snow, witnessed a picturesque scene as a mountain just 80 kilometers north of Guangzhou was blanketed in snow. This unexpected weather prompted officials to issue precautions, particularly for the elderly and young, who may be susceptible to “cold wave illnesses.” Meanwhile, Beijing faced temperatures as low as -15.5°C, nearing historic lows. The cold snap is anticipated to persist until Thursday, affecting northern areas, Inner Mongolia, and regions around the Yangtze River, with temperatures expected to be 7°C lower than usual.

While the freezing conditions present an opportunity for Harbin to host its largest-ever ice sculpture festival, with more than 1,000 ice and snow features, challenges abound. Zhengzhou’s heating system is stretched to its limits, and residents in older communities may experience a decline in heating quality. Additionally, the unpredictable weather led to more than 50 tourists being stranded for over two hours in cable cars in Zhejiang province due to windy conditions. Despite the freezing temperatures, all were unharmed, emphasizing the unexpected challenges brought about by this uncommon winter weather.