China is currently experiencing unusual winter weather that has caught many by surprise. Guangdong, a southern province unaccustomed to snow, is witnessing rare snowfall, while the northern regions are grappling with near-record low temperatures, causing disruptions in transportation. Even Beijing, the capital, faced 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 officials have issued precautions, particularly for the elderly and young, who may be susceptible to “cold wave illnesses.” Meanwhile, Beijing experienced 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.

Harbin seizes the freezing conditions for its largest-ever ice sculpture festival, featuring over 1,000 ice and snow creations. However, challenges emerge elsewhere. Zhengzhou’s heating system is strained, risking a decline in heating for residents in older communities. Further, over 50 tourists were stranded for two hours in Zhejiang province’s cable cars due to unpredictable weather. Despite the freezing temperatures, all were unharmed, underscoring the unexpected challenges posed by this unusual winter weather.