About 3,400 people were left stranded on snowbound expressways in the northern part of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region as an intense cold front began to take its toll.
Xinjiang has been hit by heavy snowfalls for the past two days with the approach of an intense cold front from west Siberia, the website Tianshannet.com.cn reported.
Truck drivers were stuck on expressways while regional buses remained in their depots, the website said.
The Urumqi international airport was also closed for about an hour yesterday morning, causing 32 flight delays and two cancellations.
Railway services, however, were operating normally, the website said.
The snowfalls will ease, but temperatures will remain low, Bai Huixing, chief forecaster of the local meteorological authority, told China Daily on Wednesday. Temperatures in the region have plunged by as much as 18 ℃.
Snowstorms also hit parts of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region and Gansu province on Tuesday.
The National Meteorological Center issued its second extreme cold weather warning on Wednesday morning and ordered authorities in 23 provincial regions to stand by for emergency services.
Strong gusts will cause temperatures to drop by more than 14 ℃ in the vast northern regions, the center said.
Parts of southern China, including Hainan province, will also not escape the cold.
Major cities like Beijing and Shanghai will experience a drop of about 10 C today, while in Hunan province the plunge could be between 14 and 16 C in the coming days.
Weather forecasters had earlier warned that the average temperature in most parts of the country this month will be 1 C lower than last December.
The worst snowstorms in 50 years hit provinces in southern China in January and February, stranding millions of Lunar New Year travelers on their way home for the holiday.