Beijing is currently facing its longest cold spell since records began in 1951, according to CNN. On Sunday afternoon, the temperature at Beijing’s Nanjiao weather station rose above zero degrees Celsius for the first time in days, as reported by the state media outlet Beijing Daily.
Since December 11, when the temperature first dropped below zero degrees, it has remained below that mark for over 300 hours, as stated by Beijing Daily. A strong cold wave has swept through much of China this month, straining the heating systems in northern cities to their limits. CNN reports multiple system failures in China’s central province of Henan.
In Jiaozuo, heating was partially stopped due to a malfunction at the Wanfang power plant on Friday. The other two cities in the province, Puyang and Pingdingshan, have reduced heating to most government buildings and state-owned enterprises since Friday. The reason given is to prioritize limited heating resources for hospitals, schools, and residential buildings, according to statements from the two cities’ governments.
The cold spell in Beijing has been causing problems for the city’s metro system for several days. The transportation authority in the city revealed that, earlier this month, hundreds of commuters were sent to the hospital, dozens with fractured bones. This followed a collision between two trains on a busy metro line during snowy conditions.
Additionally, the bitter temperatures have hampered rescue efforts after a deadly earthquake this month in northwest Gansu province.