Snowstorms have wreaked havoc in northeast China in recent days, with record snowfall in some parts snarling traffic, disrupting train services and raising concerns about power supply as temperatures plunged.
Traffic in Liaoning province has been severely disrupted, with the majority of expressway toll stations shut as of Tuesday. Passenger stations were also closed, except those in the cities of Dalian and Dandong.
Since the arrival of a cold wave on Sunday, temperatures in northeastern China had plunged by as much as 14 degrees Celsius in certain areas by Tuesday.
Meteorological departments in Liaoning and the province of Jilin have issued red alerts for snowstorms, the most severe in a four-tier colour-coded weather warning system.
The region has also stepped up efforts to keep homes warm, with authorities working to increase energy production capacities and increase coal imports, state media reported.
China’s State Grid Corp warned on Sunday of a “tight balance” between power supply and demand through winter until spring.
A wide swathe of the country – including northeastern China – has suffered outages since May as soaring prices and tight supply of coal restricted operations at power plants.
In snow-hit Shenyang, authorities have urged markets and grocery stores to lower the prices of some vegetables while increasing their supplies.
The wintery weather started on Sunday when China’s weather agency issued the winter’s first snowstorm orange alert, the second-highest level.
The capital Beijing welcomed its first snow of the season 23 days earlier than normal years, while temperatures on Sunday night fell to their lowest for the period in the past decade.
The cold snap also swept from Beijing to Shanghai to Guangzhou, pushing down temperatures by as much as 14°C (25°F) on Sunday.