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Beijing temperatures may plunge to 30-year low


09:17, December 24, 2012

A winter swimmer jumps into the icy water of the frozen Shichahai lake in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 22, 2012. Temperatures in Beijing could plunge to the lowest in almost three decades over the weekend, weather forecasters said Saturday. (Xinhua/Li Fangyu)

BEIJING, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Temperatures in the Chinese capital Beijing could plunge to the lowest in almost three decades over the weekend, weather forecasters said Saturday.

Temperatures are expected to drop to minus 15 degrees Celsius in urban areas over the weekend.

Beijingers started to feel the freezing weather after a cold spell came in from Siberia on Friday night, Wang Hua, chief forecaster of Beijing Meteorological Observatory said.

Chen Dagang, a senior meteorological forecaster at the observatory, said the capital city's lowest temperature in recent decades was minus 15.2 degrees, recorded in 1985.

Wang said in Beijing's mountainous northern suburb, Sunday's temperatures could drop to minus 20 degrees Celsius. However, he said they would rise again on Monday.

On Saturday, fewer people were on Beijing's streets. Not many people were seen at Tiananmen Square, a tourist hot spot.

"Your hands go numb in just a few minutes. Cameras also work very slowly due to the cold," said a woman surnamed Zhou, who works on the square.

Most parts of the country, except the central and southwestern regions, will see temperatures fall by six to eight degrees Celsius in the next three days. Some parts of north and northeast China will witness a drop of 10 to 14 degrees Celsius, according to the observatory.

The National Meteorological Center on Saturday kept its blue alert for the cold weather that is sweeping many northern regions in China.

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