China: North-eastern city sees highest snowfall in 116 years
Heavy blizzards in some parts of north-eastern China have brought record snowfall, raising concerns about keeping homes warm in an area hit by power outages earlier this year.
In the capital city of Shenyang, in Liaoning province, average snowfall reached 51cm (20 inches).
This is the highest recorded snowfall since 1905, said state outlet Xinhua.
In neighbouring inner Mongolia, one person died and more than 5,600 were affected after a heavy snowstorm.
Meteorological researchers in the Mongolian city of Tongliao told state outlet the Global Times that the snowstorm was an extremely random and sudden extreme weather event.
A total of 27 red alerts were issued across Inner Mongolia and north-eastern China – the highest warning alert for snowstorms.
The cold wave, which began on Sunday, caused temperatures to plummet by at least 14 degrees in some parts of north-eastern China.
In Liaoning, traffic has been severely affected by the heavy onslaught, with most expressway toll stations closed as of Tuesday.
Train and bus stations have also remained shut, except for those in the cities of Dalian and Dandong.
Authorities said they were intensifying efforts to keep homes warm by ramping up coal imports and maximising energy production capacity. It also urged markets and grocery stores to increase food supplies and reduce prices.
China’s north-east region was one of the areas particularly affected by rolling power outages in September this year, with rising costs contributing to a short supply of coal, said local media outlets.
But though the power crunch has eased, China’s State Grid Corp had earlier still warned of an “overall tight balance with partial gaps” between power supply and demand through the winter.
China is highly dependent on coal for power, though Chinese leader Xi Jinping has pledged that his country will reach peak carbon emissions within nine years.