Polar Vortex Brings Heavy Snow And Frigid Temperatures To East Asia

The East Coast of the United States wasn’t the only region hit with heavy snowfall over the weekend.

On the other side of the world, countries in East Asia also experienced a wave of freezing cold weather, resulting in dozens of deaths and disrupting thousands of travel plans.

Temperatures in Inner Mongolia dropped to a bone-chilling -46.8 degrees Celsius (-52 degrees Fahrenheit), according to The Guardian. South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency also recorded temperatures of -18 C (-0.4 F) in Seoul.

On Sunday, the Chinese city of Guangzhou, which usually experiences a warm and humid climate all year round, saw snow for the first time since 1967, The Associated Press reported. The city of Hong Kong, which lies just 22 degrees north of the Equator, also experienced its coldest weather since 1957, with temperatures plummeting to 38 F.

The cold was the result of a polar vortex, or large area of cold air, that 千花坊论坛

上海龙凤网
moved south from the Arctic to East Asia.

The frigid weather caused dozens of casualties.

At least 50 people died in Taiwan, which recorded temperatures as low as -3.7 C (25 F) over the weekend. Many of the victims were elderly and most likely died from cardiovascular diseases and hypothermia, according to the country’s national Central News Agency. Five others died in Japan over the weekend, the Associated Press said.

Over 100 people in Hong Kong were injured and dozens were hospitalized, some with hypothermia, according to the South China Morning Post.

The plummeting temperatures affected travel and commerce as well. Lakes froze over in Dalian, a major Chinese city and seaport, leaving fishing boats stranded in the ice. The heavy snow also forced authorities to cancel hundreds of flights from the South Korean island of Jeju, leaving tens of thousands of passengers stranded inside the airport.

Take a look at the images below to get a glimpse of the intense cold that hit East Asia over the weekend.

  • Taiwan
    A woman builds a snowman on her car on top of Yangmungshan National Park on Jan. 25.

    Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images
    A woman builds a snowman on her car on top of Yangmungshan National Park on Jan. 25.
  • Taiwan
    A dog walks on Yangmungshan National Park on Jan. 25.

    Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images
    A dog walks on Yangmungshan National Park on Jan. 25.
  • Taiwan
    People walk through the Yangmungshan National Park.

    Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images
    People walk through the Yangmungshan National Park.
  • Taiwan
    Snow is seen in New Taipei City on Jan. 25.

    Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images
    Snow is seen in New Taipei City on Jan. 25.
  • Taiwan
    An Instagram post from New Taipei City shows heavy snowfall.
  • China
    People walk along a snow-covered street in Zouping County on Jan. 22.

    Xinhua/Zhou Ke via Getty Images
    People walk along a snow-covered street in Zouping County on Jan. 22.
  • China
    A fishing boat carrying buoys makes its way through the ice-filled harbor in Dalian on Jan. 21.

    ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
    A fishing boat carrying buoys makes its way through the ice-filled harbor in Dalian on Jan. 21.
  • China
    Fishing boats are stuck in ice at a harbor in Dalian on Jan. 21.

    ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
    Fishing boats are stuck in ice at a harbor in Dalian on Jan. 21.
  • China
    A woman removes snow on top of a greenhouse in Dongyang, Zhejiang province, on Jan. 22.

    STR/AFP/Getty Images
    A woman removes snow on top of a greenhouse in Dongyang, Zhejiang province, on Jan. 22.
  • Inner Mongolia, China
    Frontier soldiers take part in physical training exercises in the snow in Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia, on Jan. 19.

    ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
    Frontier soldiers take part in physical training exercises in the snow in Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia, on Jan. 19.
  • Inner Mongolia, China
    Soldiers train amid freezing temperatures in Hulunbuir.

    ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
    Soldiers train amid freezing temperatures in Hulunbuir.
  • Inner Mongolia, China
    Soldiers train in Hulunbuir.

    ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
    Soldiers train in Hulunbuir.
  • Inner Mongolia, China
    Soldiers train in Hulunbuir.

    ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
    Soldiers train in Hulunbuir.
  • Inner Mongolia, China
    Plants are covered with snow in Hulunbuir.

    STR/AFP/Getty Images
    Plants are covered with snow in Hulunbuir.
  • Hong Kong
    A hiker walks past a tree, on which icicles have formed, at Kowloon Peak on Jan. 24.

    Anthony Kwan via Getty Images
    A hiker walks past a tree, on which icicles have formed, at Kowloon Peak on Jan. 24.
  • Hong Kong
    Hikers walk along an icy road on Kowloon Peak on Jan. 24.

    Anthony Kwan via Getty Images
    Hikers walk along an icy road on Kowloon Peak on Jan. 24.
  • Hong Kong
    A hiker takes a photo of a frozen plant on Kowloon Peak.

    Anthony Kwan via Getty Images
    A hiker takes a photo of a frozen plant on Kowloon Peak.
  • South Korea
  • Japan
    Icicles hang off a sculpture in Tokyo on Jan. 25. 

    YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
    Icicles hang off a sculpture in Tokyo on Jan. 25.