Though greeted by a sudden, large-scale thunderstorm Saturday afternoon, the temperature in the city of Shanghai still rose to a 60-year high of 39.6 degrees Celsius.
Streets in China's industrial and commercial center were deserted during the daytime Saturday as a heat wave warning issued by the Shanghai municipal meteorological station on Friday forecast weekend temperatures to reach a possible record 40 degrees.
Dai Xinfu, chief weather forecaster at the station, said hot weather would continue in the days ahead and the daily highs would stay above 37 degrees.
The temperature at 5:00 a.m. was already 30.3 degrees and rose quickly to 38 degrees around 11 a.m., according to the meteorological station.
The heat wave has lingered in Shanghai for 15 consecutive days, the longest period of warm air currents recorded over the past 50 years in the municipality.
To cope with a grave energy shortage brought by the sweltering summer weather, the Shanghai municipal government has ordered the suspension of all scenic lighting at night this week.
The lingering heat wave has also swept Nanjing, capital city of the neighboring Jiangsu Province, approximately 300 kilometers upstream the Yangtze River from Shanghai.
Meanwhile, the highest temperature of 40 degrees Celsius recorded at 2:00 p.m. Saturday had broken the record in Nanjing since 1966, said Han Guirong, chief weather forecaster of the Jiangsu provincial observatory.
Only a strong cold current from the north or a typhoon could possibly pull the region out of the heat spells in the coming days, Han said.
(Xinhua News Agency August 3, 2003)