Residents ride in the snow in Fuyang, East China's Anhui province, on Dec 29. Temperatures drop to -8 C in the city. [Photo/IC] Protecting agricultural production top priority in wake of chilly December Waves of cold air will continue to affect northern China this month, the China Meteorological Administration forecast, reminding people to take measures to cope with cold conditions in the north and drought in the south. Two large waves of cold air saw the national average temperature last month hit-3.6 C, the lowest for December since 2013, Wang Zhijun, director of the administration's emergency response department, said on Thursday. The cold air will be slightly weaker during the New Year holiday, from Jan 1 to 3, than in the past week, Wang said, and most of the country will experience sunny or cloudy weather. Temperatures in central and eastern China were showing signs of recovery, he said, and there would be no severe and persistent haze during the holiday. Wei Li, deputy head of the National Meteorological Center, said a new wave of cold air sweeping down from the north will influence the weather until mid-January. But apart from in northern and northeastern China, where cold temperatures will last longer, there is little prospect of large-scale extreme weather such as freezing winds and snowstorms. The national average temperature saw distinct fluctuations in December due to the effects of two large cold waves, on Dec 13 and 28, the administration said. The center issued an orange cold wave warning on Monday, the first in four years. Central and eastern parts of China have experienced a cold snap since then, with most regions seeing the coldest temperatures since the beginning of winter, Wang said. He reminded all regions to do their utmost to protect agricultural production from the cold weather forecast for January. People in northern regions should reinforce facilities such as greenhouses to keep out winds and preserve heat, while those in pasturing areas should store and schedule forage as early as possible and reinforce and insulate sheds for animals. People in parts of southwestern and southern China were reminded to harvest mature fruits and vegetables in time and take effective measures to cope with the effects of low temperatures. Meanwhile, all areas in southern China were asked to actively mitigate the effects of drought. The administration said the national average precipitation last month was 5.7 millimeters, 42.5 percent less than normal. The declines ranged from 20 percent to 100 percent, but in several areas in Sichuan and Guizhou provinces and northwestern China rainfall increased by between 50 and 100 percent. Meteorological and drought monitoring on Wednesday showed that the central part of Yunnan province, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and parts of southern Guangdong province were in moderate drought.