China’s financial hub Shanghai was set to record its chilliest period in December in four decades, spurring authorities to issue warnings for low temperatures and wind, while northern cities battled icy conditions forecast to ease only next week.
The city’s lowest temperatures on Thursday will be minus 4 to minus 6 degrees Celsius (21 to 24 degrees Fahrenheit) in Shanghai’s suburbs, and temperatures will remain below zero all day throughout the city, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said in a post on its Weibo social media account.
Wang Kaiyun, 59, a cleaner in downtown Shanghai who commutes from the city’s suburbs on an electric scooter, said the temperature was minus 5 C on her one-hour ride in on Thursday.
“Even though I was wearing gloves, I quickly lost feeling in my hands and they are still painful now,” Wang said.
While the city’s temperatures remain far warmer than those in northern China, where many provinces have recorded historically low temperatures in recent weeks, the run of cold weather was unusual for Shanghai.
The city’s weather bureau said it expects the minimum temperature at one downtown reading station to remain below zero for five straight days until Dec. 25, a run of cold in the month of December that hasn’t occurred in 40 years.
“This year is not normal,” said a 68-year-old Shanghai resident surnamed Li. “This year is super cold and it was not this cold last year.”
The unusually frigid weather ushered in by a powerful wave of cold air from Siberia has spread across China since the middle of last week, with many northern provinces rewriting December records as the mercury sank as low as minus 30 C in some cities.