A cold front brought temperatures of minus 40 degrees Celsius (minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit) to northern China, as officials urged cities to conserve heating and two tourists died after they were stranded on a mountain.
The cold was expected to continue, with Beijing forecast to see temperatures of minus 11 degrees Celsius (12 degrees Fahrenheit) today, the China Meteorological Administration said on its website. Snowfall of as much as 1.5 meters (five feet) was recorded in northern Xinjiang, the China Daily newspaper reported.
A blizzard in the northwest city of Urumqi stranded 150 drivers for more than 12 hours on a highway as temperatures hit minus 31 degrees Celsius, China Daily said. The two tourists died after they were trapped for at least 18 hours on Lingshan Mountain between Beijing and Hebei Province, according to the newspaper.
The Beijing city government on Saturday ordered government offices, hotels and restaurants to lower heating demands so apartments would have enough, China Daily said.
Heavy snows were forecast for parts of Xinjiang through tonight, the China Meteorological Administration said. The weather agency said 19 major expressways in northern China may be affected because of the snow.
Temperatures fell to their lowest so far this winter across China, including in Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia Hubei and Guangdong provinces, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.