Snowfall over a large swath of northern China will stop on Friday, but much of the southern and eastern parts of the country will be drenched in rain for a week, weather forecasters predicted.
Residents of 11 northern provinces and cities, including Hebei and Shandong provinces, Beijing and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, awoke to snowy scenes on Thursday, and continued to see the blanket of snow grow larger throughout the day.
The National Meteorological Center said the recent snow in large areas of North China is the heaviest and most widespread of the winter so far, with accumulations of as much as 2.5 centimeters.
It was Beijing's third snowfall this winter, following a light dusting on Feb 6 and dense snowflakes on Tuesday that brought wintry scenes to the capital.
The wide-ranging snow is expected to ease off by Friday morning in most regions, according to Fang Chong, the center's chief forecaster.
However, snow and sleet is set to linger in some northwestern and southwestern regions, including the Tibet and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions, through Saturday, with high chances of blizzards in some regions, the center said.
A cold wave sweeping across snowy regions will likely bring strong winds this week and push temperatures down by 6 to 10 C.
The snowy weather disrupted travelers in the ongoing spring travel rush, which ends on March 12.