Beijing yesterday embraced its earliest summer in 36 years, as the average temperature exceeded 22 C for the fifth day in a row.
The mercury climbed to 33.5 C yesterday, the highest so far this year and the hottest on that date since 1986. However, today's maximum is expected to be just 22 C thanks to clouds brought in with a cold front, the Beijing Meteorological Station said. Today's low will be about 13 C.
Sunday was lixia in Chinese solar terms, which literally means "advent of summer". In meteorological terms, however, summer is said to have arrived when the average temperature hits 22 C for five consecutive days.
Beijing met that condition between Thursday and yesterday, the station said.
This year is the earliest summer in the capital since 1971. Records show that since 2000, summer generally arrives in the capital in middle or late May. Before 2000, the season started even later.
Weathermen are also predicting an early summer for Shanghai, as sunny days are expected there over the coming week, local media reported.
Dai Jianhua, a weatherman with the city's meteorological center, said: "If the average daily temperature remains above 22 C until Friday, Shanghai will record its earliest summer in 100 years."
Last month was also warmer than usual. A report released by the National Meteorological Center on Sunday showed that the average temperature for April across the country was about 1 C higher than normal. It was also predicted that the temperature nationwide would remain higher or about average for the next 10 days.
The hot weather has certainly been good news for sellers of cold food and drinks.
Sun Liwei, who sells ice creams and drinks outside a Beijing market, said his daily turnover had almost tripled in the past week.
"Instead of buying one or two ice creams, people have been taking home 10 or more," he said. "Beer has been selling like hot cakes, too. I am selling about 400 to 500 bottles a day."
However, experts from the capital's disease control and prevention centre said that eating too much cold food could lead to stomach and intestinal complaints. The rapid rise in temperature might also trigger illnesses such as asthma, fever and cardiovascular diseases.
(China Daily May 8, 2007)