Beijing has been getting a lot of snow recently, and the skies have more of the fluffy stuff a-brewing. In fact, this snowfall will be lucky number seven this winter (whether there are lucky consequences is yet to be seen), and it’s going to be a biggie. Here’s what you need to know.
How long will the snowfall last?
Heavy snows are expected to fall over northeast China from Thursday, Feb 13 to Sunday, Feb 16. However, the majority of snowfall over urban Beijing will likely occur on Friday from 2am until 8pm.
Does this mean the virus will be frozen?
According to Chinese magazine Knowledge is Power, coronaviruses are less tolerant to heat, but can survive for hours in low temperatures and may even be made stronger by the cold.
On the other hand, the magazine also reported on the opinion of physical chemist Wang Linghang, who conjectures that snowy weather may reduce aerosol transmission, though other factors like wind and temperature must be considered. So, while the snow may help slow the spread of the virus, it’s far from a sure thing. Best to save snowman building for next year.
Will snow mitigate the pollution?
Though the coronavirus has reduced the number of cars on cars on the road, it may have actually worsened coal-burning pollution as migrants have been returning to their hometowns in increasing numbers, where the coal-to-gas transition is yet to be completed, reports Beijing Daily. The result: AQIs north of 250, giving us yet another reason to shut ourselves indoors. Fortunately, the snow and wind should do away with those pesky particles, leaving us with a sub-100 AQI by Friday evening, just in time for Valentine’s Day dinner.
How does snowfall this winter compared to other years?
As far as the number of snowy days per year in Beijing, this winter is right on track to meet the annual average of around 10 days of snowfall, though that average hasn’t been met since 2015, as 2016-2018 all saw less than seven days of snowfall.
In terms of the total amount of snow, however, this year has already surpassed the average of 15 millimeters by a factor of three. The upcoming blizzard is expected to lay down another 10 millimeters of snow, meaning that this winter will have at least five times the average amount of annual snowfall.
With that in mind, it’s time to bunker down and keep on doing more of the same.
Images: Freepik, Joey Knotts, Xueqiu, Beijing Daily