Surprise Snowfall in Taiwan as Mercury Plunges

The view from TAipei 101 on January 24, the result of record low temperatures that left Taiwanese shivering for a few days.
THERE’S SNOW IN THEM THAR HILLS – The view from Taipei 101 on January 24, the result of record low temperatures that left Taiwanese shivering for a few days. (Photo: CNA)

The strongest cold front in 44 years pushed temperatures in late January down as low as 4 degrees Celsius in Taipei – just above the record 3.2 degrees set in in 1972 – and even brought a dusting of snow to elevations in the city as low as 400 meters. Temperatures dropped to minus 3 degrees on Yangmingshan and 8 degrees in Yilan County’s Suao, and New Taipei City’s Banciao District saw its second coldest temperature in history at 3.8 degrees. Most of the snow at lower elevations quickly melted, but higher elevations saw significant accumulation, such as the 20 centimeters in Taoyuan’s Lalashan Forest Recreation Area. The media reported that over 100 “snowchasers” got stuck in mountainous areas after roads were closed. The cold front also took a significant toll, with some 85 deaths blamed on the weather, mostly among the elderly and infirm. Several people were also killed in car wrecks attributed to the weather. Agricultural losses are estimated in the millions of NT dollars, prompting the formation of a government task force to assist affected farmers. The cold front moved on as quickly as it descended, and as of January 27, the mercury had risen to 18 degrees in the capital.

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