BEIJING, 23rd January, 2016 (WAM) — China has geared up to cope with the winter’s coldest weekend as the worst cold front in decades sweeps across the country, state news agency, Xinhua, reported.

The national observatory raised the weather warning level from yellow to orange on Saturday morning.

According to the National Meteorological Center (NMC), temperatures dropped 6 to 10 degrees Celsius on Saturday morning in parts of northwest China, north China and the Huanghuai area.

China has a four-tier warning system for severe weather, with red being the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

In Beijing, temperatures dropped to under minus 10 degrees Celsius on Friday and will hit a 30-year low of minus 16 degrees Celsius from Saturday through Sunday, the Beijing meteorological station said.

The maximum load of Beijing’s power grid system reached about 16.96 million kilowatts at 5:54 p.m. on Friday, setting a record for the capital’s winter power supply in recent years.

A total of 465 emergency repair vehicles and 15 emergency generator wagons allocated by Beijing Electric Power Corporation have been ready to help with any power supply problems.

The heating supply departments from the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin and neighboring Hebei Province asked the heating supply units or companies in the region to raise heating temperatures to cope with the freezing weather.

The cold air moving south also brought low temperatures and rare snowfall to regions along the Yangtze River on Saturday.

The downtown of southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality braced for its first snow since 1996 from Friday night to Saturday morning.

Shanghai Municipality also saw snow early Saturday morning while the temperature in the city dropped to under minus two degrees Celsius.

Before the cold spell arrived, the agriculture department of Shanghai stored enough vegetables to deal with demand during the weekend cold snap.

WAM/tfaham