2011 Nov 06 Where’s the Heat?
A friend recently mused that the best time to leave Beijing isn’t in the dead of winter, but in the chilling weeks when the cold arrives and the heat has yet to come on. The first cold snap of the season, back in late October, left residents reaching for the layers and trying to remember how long they needed to wait until the city hits the on switch.
In Beijing, one of the most anticipated days of the year is November 15, when the heat finally goes on. Residents may get a taste of warm air while the heating gets tested, starting on November 7. The only other way the heat will go on earlier is if temperatures drop to an average of 5 degrees C (41 F) for five straight days – which seems unlikely, with the bearable temperatures we've been experiencing so far.
Two years ago, Beijing’s furnaces were turned on two weeks early, a small consolation for the bitter cold winter. Last year didn’t bring any early heating, but Beijing was bundling up a good bit earlier and a lot heavier than we are presently.
If Beijingers are lucky, weather over the next few days will stay relatively mild, but while you wait there are other ways to keep warm. Lap up winter favorites like hot pot or sip on warming remedies at bars around town. If you want to stay warm at home, Taobao has a long list of electric blankets.