The cold blast will continue across China, with Beijing recording -19.6 C on Thursday morning, the lowest temperature since 1966, meteorological authorities said.
Shandong, Hebei and Shanxi provinces also reported the lowest temperatures since their meteorological stations were built.
The National Meteorological Center said that on Friday, temperatures will drop by up to 10 C in East China, including the provinces of Anhui, Jiangxi and Zhejiang. Fujian province, in the southeast, and Yunnan province in the southwest are forecast to experience similar drops.
In Northwest China, South China and areas along the Yangtze, Yellow and Huaihe rivers, temperatures will drop by between 6 and 8 C, with strong winds.
The Beijing Meteorological Service said the capital is expected to record a low of about -10 C on Friday and Saturday, with temperatures on both days slow to rise. Chilly winds will make people feel colder than the recorded temperatures, it added.
In Northeast China's Jilin province, the lowest temperature is expected reach -32 C on Friday affected by cold air from Siberia.
The province's meteorological service issued a Grade IV emergency response to the cold air, the lowest of its four-tier ranking, and the provincial emergency management department urged authorities to guarantee sufficient supplies of coal, electrical power and water resources to combat the cold front.
In Jiangxi province, the rescue center has relocated more than 100 homeless people from train stations, squares and bridge culverts to rescue centers to ensure nobody is hurt by the cold. For those who would rather not be relocated, the centers are providing food, water and warm clothes.
The National Meteorological Center issued a nationwide blue cold warning on Thursday, the lowest level in its four-tier system. In December, two rounds of cold air that both lasted for about four days hit China, making temperatures in most areas lower than in normal years.
Song Lianchun, director of the National Climate Center, said that the colder winter was due to global warming and the La Nina phenomenon.
He said that global warming has caused warmer winters in most years since the 1980s, but can also lead to colder winters such as in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
"From autumn 2020, global warming has begun to melt arctic sea ice and reduced it to the second lowest on record, weakening the polar vortex-air that spins around the stratosphere over the Arctic area," he said.
"Usually, the vortex locks cold air inside, but this winter's weaker vortex has released more cold air that moved southward to Eurasia."
Song added that global warming causes both hotter and colder weather.
"Global warming leads to unstable climate and extreme weather events including rainstorms, cold fronts and heat waves," he said.
La Nina, a fluctuation in sea-air interactions that causes the cooling of ocean surface water, also contributed to the coldness.
"The phenomenon helped cold air move south on a large scale in most parts of China," Song said.
The National Meteorological Center warned that transportation authorities and police should prepare for icy roads and people should wrap up to keep warm. The public should also follow weather reports to take preventive measures against the cold.