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Heat Wave Hits North China

High temperatures lingering over north China in the past several days have inconvenienced people's daily life and led to a hike of power and water consumption.
Dubbed as a "heater", Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province, reported a record high temperature of 40.9 degrees Celsius on Thursday after high temperatures of over 36 degrees hovered over the city over the past seven days.
According to the provincial meteorological station on Friday, high temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius were also reported in the northwest and central parts of Shandong Province on Thursday, while the temperatures in other parts of the province also reached 37 degrees and above.
To reduce the threat of the high temperatures, education authorities of Jinan city have ordered local primary schools to suspend classes and only morning classes remained normal in junior middle schools.
Local government also urged concerned enterprises to stop outdoor operations when the temperature reaches 37 degrees Celsius and higher.
High temperatures hit most parts of north China, including Hebei Province, Shanxi Province, Henan Province, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Shandong Province in the past week.
Sustained heat waves rolled across Beijing since early this week, leading to a slight power shortage, according to Beijing Power Company.
The municipality used 9.89 million kilowatts of electricity by 4:55 PM Thursday, a record high of daily electric power consumption in the capital.
It is forecast that Beijing's daily electric power consumption will hit 10.7 million kilowatts this summer, 1.264 million kilowatts more than last year, a result of high temperatures. The North China Power Grid Company forecast that Beijing will be short 1 million kilowatts this summer.
Beijing power authorities have warned local residents to take measures to save electricity and local enterprises are required to avoid power use during peak hours.
High temperature also led to a hike of water consumption in the city. Beijing used 2.409 million cubic meters of water on Thursday, the second largest daily water consumption in the city's history.
High temperatures, less rainfall and an ensuing drought have hit north China's Shanxi Province since the beginning in June.
According to the provincial headquarters for flood control and drought relief, sustained droughts have affected 1.47 million hectares of farmland, 34.66 million hectares of which were seriously affected, in the province. The province has 1.4 million people and 261,300 domestic animals which face a temporary shortage of drinking water.
The drought even affected the autumn crops, according to a source with the provincial agriculture department.
High temperatures and drought in north China are expected to be relieved from Saturday on as rainfalls are forecast for most parts of the scorched north region, according to the Chinese Meteorological Administration. 
(Xinhua News Agency June 25, 2005)

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