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North China wilts under scorching heatwave
By Tan Yingzi (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-06-26 08:00

Olli Geibel is taking four showers a day, drinking four liters of water and chomping through a lot of salad these days in order to survive Beijing's heat wave, the likes of which he has never seen in Europe.

North China wilts under scorching heatwave
A boy cools off in a park fountain in Shenyang, Liaoning province, yesterday during a heatwave which singed large swathes of the country. [Tian Weitao/China Daily]
 North China wilts under scorching heatwave

"It is the first time in my life to experience such hot weather," the 35-year-old German photographer said yesterday. "In Europe, temperatures over 35 C are almost unbearable to us. And now here is nearly 40!"

Scorching beneath the sun, he is even considering carrying a parasol, as do many women in the capital.

Beijing is not alone in being baked by excessive heat; much of North China has suffered through extremely hot and dry weather - with temperatures nudging above 37 C - since Tuesday, because of the warm air mass.

Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong and Henan have been especially hard-hit, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) said yesterday.

The center issued an "orange" high-temperature alert in 17 municipalities and provinces. In Tianjin and Henan yesterday, the alert was raised to "red" - the highest level.

"These places have seen the temperature exceed 40 C in the afternoon," said He Lifu, NMC's chief weatherman.

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Beijing saw the mercury rise to 39.6 C on Wednesday, the highest June day since 1951, according the Beijing meteorological bureau. On the same day, Beijing used a record amount of water - a staggering 2.66 million cu m.

Taxi drivers have been among the beneficiaries of the hot weather as people have opted to use air-conditioned cabs instead of buses. "It costs me 30 yuan ($4.5) more on gasoline for air-con but I earn even more than 100 yuan a day," said Wang Haitao, a Beijing taxi driver.

The sweltering temperatures will last a few more days, then cooler air and rain is expected next week.

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