Winter off to a frigid start in China's capital

Story highlights

  • Tuesday was Beijing's coldest day in almost three years (and it's still technically autumn)!
  • Coldest stretch of November temps for Beijing in six decades
  • Heavy early season snowstorm canceled over 200 flights from Beijing International airport

(CNN)Autumn officially may still have several weeks left on the calendar, but Beijing residents feel like they've been thrown into the depths of winter.

Heavy snow and frigid temperatures hit Beijing over the weekend, snarling travel across portions of northeast China. More than 200 flights were canceled in Beijing and the snow even closed the airport to incoming flights for a period of time on Sunday.
Schools and roads were closed across portions of China as well. While the snow was one of Beijing's heaviest in recent November history, it isn't unheard of and it wasn't even the first of the year. What's rare is this week's frigid temperatures.
    An arctic high pressure is to blame for funneling in the extreme cold. According to state media, this is the coldest November stretch in six decades. The high temperature Tuesday reached only minus 4 degrees Celsius (25 degrees Fahrenheit) -- and it may not top the freezing mark until Saturday. The average high temperature in late November is around 8 degrees C (46 degrees F). In fact, Tuesday's high temperature was colder than the average low for this time of year (minus 2 degrees C/28 degrees F). Even though it's only November, Tuesday is the coldest day Beijing has seen in over 1,000 days. The last day with a colder high temperature was January 2, 2013 when it was a bitter minus 6 degrees C (21 degrees F).
    Beijing's coldest temperature ever recorded in November is minus 12 degrees C/10 degrees F on November 30, 1970. While areas northwest of the city will threaten this mark, the official temperature is likely to be between minus 7 degrees and minus 10 degrees C (14-19 degrees F) for the next several nights. That may be short of the record, but it's still impressive as the coldest temperature recorded for all of last winter was minus 9 degrees C (16 degrees F).