Strong and unseasonably warm gales Monday swept through Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China, causing a sharp rise in temperature to 4 degrees Celsius.
The lowest temperature for the city on Sunday was minus 9 degrees Celsius.
The local meteorologic bureau said the temperature would likely rise to 6 degrees Celsius.
Warm gales struck the city on the early Monday, with maximum speeds of 20 meters per second. Some billboards were toppled and passersby steered clear of high-rises to avoid being hurt by falling masonry.
The gale was the first of its kind in ten years in the city, said Wei Rongqing, chief forecaster of the meteorologic bureau of Xinjiang. The warm winds had pushed temperatures higher than Turpan city, also in Xinjiang, which is famous for its scorching summer weather.
Wei said moderate cold air would follow the warm gales and would likely bring snow.
(Xinhua News Agency February 16, 2004)