The cold front that began on Friday has hit 16 provinces and regions, and is continuing to head south, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said Monday.
The icy weather, which hails from Siberia and Mongolia, will end its journey through China over the next three to five days, at which time temperatures will start to rise, it said.
But before the cold fronts leave, the temperature in most parts of southern China will fall 6 to 8 C, and gales are also forecast, it said.
The CMA issued an orange warning for the strong winds at sea yesterday morning, as most areas of the Bohai and Huanghai seas experienced heavy gusts.
In the southern island province of Hainan, the Haikou marine administration suspended ferry services on the Qiongzhou Straits that link Hainan to Guangdong province.
On Sunday, He Lifu, the CMA's top forecaster said in a statement on the administration's website: "The cold wave brought gales and drops in temperature of up to 18 C."
It is very rare for two cold fronts to hit the country in December, but the CMA is closely following them, he said.
Sixteen provinces and autonomous regions have been affected by the icy weather, which has left thousands of passengers stranded at airports across the country.
Shandong province was hit by heavy snows of up to 14 mm, and the temperature in the city of Yantai fell 12 C.
All flights to and from Yantai airport were cancelled until noon yesterday, Dong Yuehong, a worker there, told China Daily yesterday.
Ferry services between Yantai in Shandong province and Dalian in Liaoning province have also been suspended since Saturday night, but are expected to resume today, the CMA said on its website yesterday.
The snow and gales also forced the closure of many expressways in Shandong and Hebei provinces.
The Shanghai meteorological center said temperatures fell to minus 3 C in the downtown area.
It also issued a cold weather warning for today and asked transport, health and electricity supply departments to be on alert.
The Shanghai Evening Post reported that the respiratory department at Huashan Hospital saw patient numbers double yesterday.
In Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, the mercury fell to minus 4 C yesterday morning, and the local government has sent more than 3,000 disaster information officials to communities and organizations to see if any damage has been caused by the cold weather, Ma Lixi, from the civil affairs bureau, said.
Also, some 5,600 quilts have been distributed to the city's poor, he said.