Much of na­tion to keep on sweat­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran@ chi­

A warn­ing is­sued on Tues­day by the Na­tional Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Cen­ter marked the 19th con­sec­u­tive day of hot weather alerts, dur­ing which some eastern cities have seen record high tem­per­a­tures.

The cen­ter also warned of the in­creased risk of heat­stroke due to hu­mid­ity. Health risk warn­ings are based on a five-level scale — in ad­di­tion to the fa­mil­iar four-level color codes for heat warn­ings. Health risks are now at the high­est of the five lev­els in 12 prov­inces and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in eastern and north­west­ern China, the cen­ter said.

It means res­i­dents in places such as Shang­hai and the prov­inces of Zhe­jiang, Jiangsu, Hubei and Hu­nan are at risk of heat­stroke and should take pre­cau­tions to keep cool — in­clud­ing the avoid­ance of ex­tended out­door ac­tiv­ity.

Hot weather will con­tinue in China’s eastern and north­west­ern re­gions un­til the end of this month, ac­cord­ing to the cen­ter’s fore­cast.

The cen­ter found that heataf­fected ar­eas have ex­panded since July 10, and that across more than 1.38 mil­lion square kilo­me­ters — about one-eighth of the Chi­nese main­land — high tem­per­a­tures ex­ceeded 35 C through Sun­day, and across one area of 65,000 square kilo­me­ters it ex­ceeded 40 C.

But the on­go­ing heat has not beaten the records set in 2013, when China’s vast eastern re­gions saw a run of more than 40 sweltering days in July and Au­gust.

“But it has seen an in­creas­ing num­ber of days with high tem­per­a­tures due to global warm­ing,” said Xiao Chan from the cen­ter.

He added that the num­ber of days with high tem­per­a­tures in the Yangtze River’s mid­dle and down­stream ar­eas have in­creased by 0.7 days ev­ery 10 years.

Shang­hai, one of China’s most pop­u­lated cities, has ex­pe­ri­enced lin­ger­ing heat for the past 15 days, top­ping ma­jor cap­i­tal cities in the amount of days with tem­per­a­tures higher than 35 C. It also set a record high of 40.9 C on Sun­day, the high­est in 145 years.

“It’s like walk­ing in an oven,” Shang­hai res­i­dent Zhang Ji­awei said on Tues­day. “It makes me sad that the heat will con­tinue for days more. I can’t breathe or sleep without the air con­di­tioner, which has worked day and night.”

In ad­di­tion, many cities in re­gions neigh­bor­ing Shang­hai also saw records. For ex­am­ple, Ji­ashan, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, hit 41.1 C, while Changzhou, Wuxi and Chang­shu in Jiangsu prov­ince hit 40.9 C.

The lin­ger­ing sub­trop­i­cal high pres­sure area and hot winds are to blame, the cen­ter’s Xiao said.

Many fam­i­lies shared Zhang’s ex­pe­ri­ence with their air con­di­tion­ers — leav­ing them on con­stantly. That has caused elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion to soar to record highs in many prov­inces, in­clud­ing Zhe­jiang, Shaanxi and Hubei.

In Hubei, elec­tri­cal con­sump­tion hit a record high on Mon­day, of which 40 per­cent went to sup­port air con­di­tion­ers. Con­sump­tion is ex­pected to in­crease even more in the next few days, ac­cord­ing to the Hubei branch of State Grid Corp of China.

At the same time, the lin­ger­ing heat in cen­tral and eastern re­gions is good for rice har­vest­ing and dry­ing, but could cause drought in some places. Also, the heat could harm some veg­eta­bles and fish­eries, au­thor­ity said on Tues­day.


A busi­ness­man in Shang­hai cools him­self on Tues­day us­ing two fans and a wet towel in his shop, which lacks air con­di­tion­ing. The tem­per­a­ture in the city reached 40 C.

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