Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) — Temperatures in northern China may fall to the lowest in half a century, threatening to disrupt transportation system and power supplies.
Beijing temperatures are forecast to drop as low as minus 16 degrees Celsius (3.2 degrees Fahrenheit) tonight, according to the China Meteorological Administration. Northern China may have 50-year low temperatures today, China Central Television reported yesterday.
Schools in the Chinese capital were shut after it was hit by the heaviest daily snowfall since 1951 on Jan. 3, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Premier Wen Jiabao called on local authorities that same day to ensure food supplies, agricultural production and the safety of transportation, Xinhua reported.
Snowfalls have hampered transportation of coal to power plants in the eastern province of Shandong, reducing inventories of the fuel in the region to 2.7 million metric tons, enough for less than nine days of consumption, the Dazhong Daily newspaper reported today. That’s below the recommended minimum level of 15 days, it said.
Reduced coal supplies are threatening the “stable operations” at power stations in Shandong, the daily reported.
Power-station coal stockpiles are falling in northern, eastern and central China because of weather-related disruption to deliveries of the fuel, the China Business News reported yesterday.
Some cities started to limit electricity supply because of reduced coal stockpiles, the newspaper reported, citing an unidentified official from the State Electricity Regulatory Commission.
Beijing Capital International Airport had re-opened all of its three runways by 12 p.m. local time yesterday, the China National Radio reported. The airport canceled more than 500 flights, CCTV reported. Fifteen highways in northern China remained closed as of 4 p.m. yesterday because of snow, according to the Ministry of Transportation.
Elementary and middle schools in the Chinese capital and the neighboring city of Tianjin were also shut because of snow and low temperatures, the city governments said.
A train from Hohhot, Inner Mongolia’s capital, to Tongliao city resumed operation at 5:53 p.m. yesterday after being stuck for 21 hours because of snow, the National Radio said.
Parts of Hunan and Jiangxi province may be hit by heavy snow today, according to the weather bureau. The provinces of Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Liaoning, Hunan and Jiangxi may have snow tomorrow, the administration said.
Beijing is forecast to be sunny today and tomorrow, according to the China Meteorological Administration.
Suburban areas of the Chinese capital received more than 33 centimeters (13 inches) of snow on Jan. 3, the Beijing Daily reported. Tianjin got as much as 20 centimeters of snow, CCTV reported.