Northeast China unusually cold as temperatures dip to January levels

BEIJING (Reuters) – Northeast China, which borders Russia and North Korea, was hit by unusually cold weather on Monday, with sub-freezing temperatures in some cities expected to further plummet to levels seen more typically in January.

Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, will brace for temperatures as low as minus 25 Celsius (minus 13 Fahrenheit) on Tuesday, and the weather will remain below freezing for the rest of the week, according to national weather forecasters.

So far this month, precipitation, be it snow, sleet or freezing rain, has blanketed the northeastern Chinese provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning. Precipitation in most areas has been more than twice that of the same period in normal years, Chinese meteorologists say.

Precipitation at many weather stations including the three provincial capitals of Harbin, Changchun and Shenyang has shattered previous records, following one of the warmest Octobers in decades under the influence of El Nino.

With the successive arrivals of two cold air masses early this week, temperatures in northeast China could reach “three-nine or even four-nine levels,” warned Chinese meteorologists, referring to dates on the Chinese almanac.

Chinese farmers in the past divided the weeks after the Winter Solstice into nine nine-day periods ahead of spring ploughing. The first nine-day period, or “one-nine”, begins on the Winter Solstice, which falls on Dec. 22 this year.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Sharon Singleton)