Temperatures set to drop sharply following unseasonably warm weather

Temperatures are expected to drop sharply over the weekend following unseasonably warm weather at the start of March.

Shanghai reached 25.9C (78.6F) on Thursday and 102 weather stations across China broke their records for the highest temperatures in early March. In the largest wheat-producing province of Henan, the capital of Zhengzhou exceeded 30C (86F).

This is set to change as a cold wave will hit China with the National Meteorological Center issuing a blue warning, the lowest of its three-level alert system, for excessive temperature declines.

Much of the country is set to see temperatures fall by 12-14C from Friday through Monday. Some areas in the north and northeast could see temperatures drop by 16-18C.

Some northern areas including Shandong province, Hebei, and parts of Henan provinces are expected to be pushed back below freezing temperatures this weekend.

This sudden and sharp drop in temperatures could impact winter wheat production. Higher than average temperatures during the past few weeks gave crops a good start, with many areas seeing plant development around a week ahead of normal.