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 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 <a target="_blank" href="http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2016/01/24/0200000000AEN20160124000753315.html" —> Read More