Scorching heat continued to bake most of eastern China Monday, as surging energy demand prompted suppliers in many places to consider temporary power cutoffs to deal with shortages.
Meteorological records show temperatures climbed as high as 35 C in many Yangtze River Delta cities on Monday.
Pedestrians seek shade as temperatures reach 37 degrees Celsius in Shanghai, July 7, 2008. [Xinhua]
Local meteorological departments issued a series of warnings advising residents to seek shade and take measures to stay cool when outside.
In downtown Shanghai, the mercury surged to above 34 C before 10 am yesterday, prompting the municipal weather department to issue a yellow-level warning - released when temperatures range between 35 C and 37 C - before temperatures topped out at 37 C.
The Shanghai meteorological bureau said the parched city will experience some rainfall later this week, but that will have a limited effect in cooling temperatures.
Despite having had a week to acclimate to the heat, many residents have said they are finding it difficult to adapt to such heat so early in the year.
Meteorological records show temperatures during the "plum rain period" - an annual period of heavy precipitation in eastern China between June 7 and July 4 - were lower than in previous years until they suddenly surged at the end of last month.
"Experiencing the sudden jump from a relatively cool summer to the current heat wave has been very uncomfortable," bank employee Wang Xin said.
"The heat makes even the short walk from the subway station to my workplace an ordeal."
A subtropical high-pressure belt caused temperatures in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces to climb higher than 35 C yesterday.
Jiangsu's meteorological authority yesterday issued an orange-level alert - issued when temperatures exceed 37 C - and warnings to several cities, suggesting they prepare for another three days of high temperatures.
The Shanghai meteorological department said the city will face between 16 and 22 "hot-weather days" this year, in which temperatures would reach at least 35 C. Last year, the city experienced 30 such days.
It is forecast the city will experience seven to 13 hot-weather days next month. Also, local authorities expect power shortages caused by widespread air conditioner use.
"Shanghai's power grid is maxed out, and all backup generators are already in use," Wang Changxing, an official with the Shanghai's power-supply authority, said.
In Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang, temporary power cutoffs are being considered as an option to deal with the shortages.
(China Daily July 8, 2008)