Beijing was cold as the Antarctic with strong winds and the coldest day of the century
Published: Jan 07, 2021 01:43 AM

Beijing residents walk in the street on January 6, 2021. Photo: CFP

A cold front swept into Beijing on Wednesday, bringing the lowest January temperature of the century with biting winds that reached 87 kilometers per hour.

The wind-chill factor made it feel like -31 C in Beijing, while the temperature at the South Pole felt like -37 C, according to weather forecasts. 

Commuters who suffered through the extreme cold shared their experiences on social media. "I have never thought I need to put on weight until today," a netizen wrote on Sina Weibo. "I got a 'whooping willow' just down my office," wrote a Harry Potter fan. 

A Beijing resident surnamed Zhang said that when she walked outside wearing a face mask, moisture from her breath was immediately frozen on her eyeglasses. 

A woman (left) helps her friend adjust a scarf as strong winds battered Beijing on Wednesday. The cold wave sent temperatures plunging to as low as -17 C in the city, the lowest for this date since the turn of the century. Photo: cnsphoto

People on the street greeted each other asking -- how many layers did you wear? Demand for taxis spiked and hailing a ride on the phone app Didi became nearly impossible. A Beijing resident paid four times the normal price to get home buying the service of a luxury vehicle, the only ones available during rush hour. 

The cold weather also drove up the use of energy and the electricity load reached 24.51 million kilowatts at 8:22 pm, breaking the 23.56 million kilowatts record during the summer of 2018. More than 48 percent of the power on Wednesday was used for heating. 

Some people were disappointed the extreme cold didn't bring a dump of snow.

As the cold front moves south, Shanghai and Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang are expected to see temperatures drop by 10 degrees Celsius. 

Global Times

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