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China gripped by unusual cold spell

By Wang Qian and Liu Ce (China Daily)

08:50, February 07, 2012

A tourist braves strong wind in Beijing on Monday. A large part of the country will experience colder than usual weather in the coming days, meteorologists said. (China Daily / Wang Jing)

BEIJING/SHENYANG - China is experiencing a colder winter than usual and temperatures will continue to fall until mid-February, meteorologists said.

"Over the weekend, a new cold front will bring precipitation and a sudden temperature drop to most parts of China, and after mid-February, temperatures will climb in fluctuations," Huang Xiaoyu, chief forecaster of the China Meteorological Administration, told China Daily on Monday.

She added that the average temperature in China in January was about 1 C lower than the usual level.

The National Meteorological Center issued an alert for a cold snap on Monday, predicting the temperature drop up to 14 C before Wednesday.

China is not alone in having unusually cold weather. Europe is experiencing a bitter cold spell that has claimed lives and paralyzed traffic.

Wang Qiwei, of the National Climate Center of the China Meteorological Administration, said the widespread cold is caused by high atmospheric pressure in the Arctic.

When the atmospheric pressure in the Artic is higher than the area outside the pole, the cold air spreads.

The air pressure increased rapidly in the Arctic in mid-January, causing the fast spread of cold to Europe and Asia, Wang said.

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