Beijing records highest winter temperature ever amid heat wave

A sleepy giant panda at the Beijing Zoo in Beijing, China, on February 2021 - the day after the capital broke the winter high temperature record by 10 degrees. (Reuters)
Temperatures were on a roller coaster ride across China this winter, allowing the country's capital to receive the unique award of setting temperature records at both extremes in the same winter. In the past few days, Beijing set a new high temperature record for the winter months just a few weeks after the record cold.
Temperatures fluctuated across Beijing in February, but a major heat wave set in late last week that skyrocketed mercury levels well beyond what has been seen there at the time of year.
The warmest air in more than two decades caused temperatures in eastern China to rise above normal on the afternoon of February 18, with a high temperature of around 7.5 ° C in Beijing. The average high in Beijing at the end of February is comparatively 5 ° C.
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In a stagnant high pressure area over Central Asia, the heat continued to increase throughout the weekend and temperatures were well above normal.
"Beijing peaked at 20 ° C on Saturday, February 20, before temperatures climbed to 20 ° C on Sunday," said Tyler Roys, AccuWeather senior meteorologist, who focuses on international weather.
In fact, on Sunday, February 21st, the temperature was exactly 25.6 ° C, the highest temperature ever recorded in Beijing during the winter months.
The 78-degree reading completely erased the previous record, which, according to CNN, was 19.8 ° C (67.6 F) in 1996. A Reuters photo taken the day after the record break at Beijing Zoo showed an exhausted-looking panda who looked very much like it had just weathered a record-breaking heatwave.
"Temperatures in the upper 1970s are more typical of a late spring day in mid-May than the second half of February," said Roys.
Beijing wasn't the only city in East Asia that experienced unusual warmth.
The city of Pohang, South Korea, set a new record daily temperature on Sunday when the city hit 24.9 ° C. Pohang's normal high temperature at the end of February is 8 ° C.
The heat continued through Monday, allowing more East Asia to break new records, including Shanghai at 25.6 ° C and Tokyo at 21.9 ° C.
Temperatures have since weakened and are much more normal again in most locations. For the rest of February, temperatures are forecast to be near normal in much of the eastern part of the continent.
People wearing face masks to curb the spread of the coronavirus head to work as cold winds strike the capital in Beijing on Wednesday January 6, 2021. (AP Photo / Andy Wong)
The weather in China during the 2020-21 winter season was particularly extreme. Just a few weeks ago, arctic air was pouring over the country, lowering temperatures in Beijing to levels that have not been reached in half a century.
On Thursday morning, January 7th, the thermometer readings in Beijing dropped to -19.6 ° C, breaking the daily cold weather record of 1969.
Beijing was also quite cold in mid-December as temperatures dropped to 11 ° C below zero, which helped create lake-effect snow as the bitterly cold air poured over the Sea of ​​Japan. Later in January, Japan hit more lake-effect snow and caused a deadly buildup of highways.
While East Asia had record high winter temperatures last weekend, much of the US was in a freezing state, and cold temperature records fell in several states. However, within a week, temperatures recovered in an amazing way.
Check back often at AccuWeather.com and keep up to date on the AccuWeather network of DirecTV, Frontier, Spectrum, Fubo, and Verizon Fios.
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