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It's official: Beijing winter has come prematurely

Autumn finished quicker than usual, meteorologists find

You might call it fall, you might call it autumn, but whatever it is, did it feel really, really short to you too? Well, that would be because it was, and the Beijing Meteorological Bureau has released the juicy stats to back it up. As The Beijing News reports, the capital's autumn began on September 16, but winter came and blew out autumn's flame on October 30; that 44-day autumn means we clocked out seven days short of Beijing's 51-day average. Deprived of a whole week of what is arguably the city's best season. It could be worse though – last year saw the shortest autumn in the past decade, with a meagre 36 days of golden-rougey goodness.

And winter's flexing on Beijing already, having already dumped its first snow in the capital, as BTV reports. Of course, by 'Beijing', they mean Labagou town – a mountainous extremity in Huairou district that sits on our northern border with Hebei, a full 150km or so from the city centre. It's actually as close to Inner Mongolia as it is to the Forbidden City, but still part of what is classified as Beijing.

Snow-covered Labagou. Image: BTV新闻频道

Snowy doom remains north of the Wall for now, but when can we expect a dusting of the white stuff to fall on us city slickers? The answer is probably 'not anytime this winter'. In spite of the sudden drop in temperature and first flirtation with zero degrees, according to China Daily, 'China will experience a warmer winter than normal, and some areas in the north will be more prone to air pollution as a result' – they tell us, relaying info from China's National Climate Center, whose chief forecaster, Ai Wanxiu, added that 'the possibility of wide-ranging and long-lasting freezing snow and rain is low'.

So no snow and possibly more pollution – oh, the good life. All we can really do is wrap up and enjoy the winter as much as possible – let Beijing prove to us again that ice really can be just as charming and enjoyable as snow. Just ask these Houhai ice swimmers.

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