BEIJING, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- The mercury dipped to minus 19.6 degrees Celsius at a meteorological station in the south of Beijing on Thursday morning as a strong cold wave swept the city, marking the coldest morning in the Chinese capital since 1966.
The Nanjiao station, located in Beijing's Daxing District, is a national-level meteorological station founded in 1912. Its data has been used by experts to make historical comparisons.
On early Thursday morning, half of Beijing's 20 national-level meteorological stations registered their lowest ever early-January temperatures, according to Lei Lei, chief forecaster of the Beijing municipal meteorological station.
The cold wave has gripped Beijing since Wednesday, bringing drastic temperature drops and strong winds.
As of Thursday morning, the city's weather authorities had maintained blue alerts for continuous low temperatures and heavy winds, the lowest level in China's four-tier color-coded warning system.
The authorities have also advised the public to take precautions against the cold weather.
The cold wave is forecast to continue in Beijing until Friday, with the daily maximum temperature remaining below zero, Lei said, adding that the temperature is expected to climb on Saturday, with the daily maximum temperature rising above 1 degree Celsius.