With people sporting sleeveless shirts, parasols shading Beijing ladies and ice cream and pop selling briskly, summer seemed to have fallen in the past weekend in the Chinese capital, with temperatures reaching 29 degrees Celsius.
Statistics showed that Beijing's average temperature from April 7 to April 16 reached 18.8 degrees Celsius, 5.2 degrees higher than past years and the highest since 1951, Monday's People's Daily reported.
Zhang Qiang, a noted meteorologist from the National Climate Center said that most parts of North China have seen average temperatures four to six degrees higher than past years.
"Besides Beijing, northern China's Hebei, Henan, Shanxi and Shandong provinces and Tianjin municipality have all had temperatures that were their highest since 1951, he noted.
Zhang explained that the unusually hot, sweltering weather is caused by the dry weather and acute rain shortage, which means the heat could not be brought away through evaporation.
Experts suggested that residents not pack away their warm clothes too fast, as it is still cool in early morning and late evening.
(Xinhua News Agency April 20, 2004)