Cold snap grips China, traps 1,000 ships in ice

Temperatures have been unusually frigid, with northeast China hitting a 43-year low of 4 degrees.

SHANGHAI — Temperatures in China have plunged to their lowest in almost three decades, cold enough to freeze coastal waters and trap 1,000 ships in ice, official media reported.

Since late November, China has shivered at an average temperature of 25 degrees, the chilliest in 28 years, state news agency Xinhua said Saturday, citing the China Meteorological Administration.

Bitter cold has frozen the sea in Laizhou Bay on the coast of Shandong province in the east, stranding nearly 1,000 ships, the China Daily newspaper reported.

Zheng Dong, chief meteorologist at the Yantai Marine Environment Monitoring Center under the State Oceanic Administration, told the paper that 180 square miles of Laizhou Bay was frozen.

Transport around the country has been severely disrupted.

Snow in China: A student wearing a doctorate degree gown poses for pictures in snow near a statue of the late Chairman Mao Zedong at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. IMAGEReuters: Chance Chan

More than 140 flights from the state capital airport in central Hunan province were delayed, while heavy snowfall forced the closure of some sections of the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway, the China Daily said.

Temperatures in the northeast fell even lower, reaching a 43-year low of 4 degrees.

One truck driver in southeastern Jiangxi province, caught in a three-mile-long traffic jam after heavy snowfall caused an accident, told China Daily the snow and extreme cold were a surprise.

"I didn't expect such a situation, so I've brought no warm coats or food. All I can do now is wait," Yao Xuefeng told the paper.

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