Cold weather descends on Eastern Asia

Monday 25th Jan 2016 by the Weather Club

Image: Taipei City, Taiwan, recorded its lowest temperature in 44 years. (Source: Flickr, Credit: Steven Weng)

The wintry weather in the eastern US dominated headlines around the world this weekend, but as we start a new working week, record cold temperatures are also affecting eastern Asia. Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan have been some of the countries most affected, with temperatures across the region widely 10 degrees below normal for the time of year.

In Taipei city, temperatures of 4C were recorded; the lowest for 44 years. In contrast, average temperatures in the Taiwan capital for January usually hover around 16C. Elsewhere, Hong Kong reported 3C on Sunday, one of the coldest days in 60 years. Even places as far a field as Bangkok were affected; the temperature there is rarely below 20C, however on Sunday, it dropped to 16C. The coldest weather was reported in Mongolia, where the mercury fell to a record low of -46.8C.

So far, at least 95 people have been killed as a result of the cold weather, with the main causes being hyperthermia and cardiac arrest.

The result of the sudden drop in temperatures is being attributed to the polar vortex, which has allowed cold air from Siberia and the Arctic to descend much further southwards. To read more about the polar vortex, click here.