Beijing braces for more sweltering weather this week

By Meng Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-07-26 08:03
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Beijing braces for more sweltering weather this week
High temperatures in the city in recent days has led many residents to look for ways to cool down. [China Daily]

A new wave of blisteringly high temperatures has hit the capital at the same time as high humidity air has made Beijing feel even hotter.

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The Beijing Meteorological Bureau issued a yellow-coded heat alert on Saturday, heralding the fact that three consecutive days in excess of 35 C was expected. Weather forecasters in Beijing say the hot weather will probably not leave the city until the second half of this week.

Guo Jinlan, the bureau's chief weather forecaster, said it has been rare to see so many high-temperature days in July.

Guo said the excessively warm air will dominate Beijing for the coming three or four days.

"The conditions are not conducive for rain," she told METRO on Sunday.

"Compared with the first round of high-temperature days in Beijing, the humidity is rather high this time, reaching 80 percent instead of the 40 percent we had in early July," she said.

With the mercury rising, the number of people suffering from heatstroke has also climbed to a new level.

After Beijing officially began its "sauna-days" on July 19, more people have felt that the heat has become unbearable, said Ding Deping, head of the Beijing meteorological observatory.

"Some people doubt the weather forecast these days and ask why 35 C feels more like 40 C," Ding said, explaining that the high humidity makes hot weather feel even more uncomfortable.

The 999 emergency rescue center of the Beijing Red Cross Foundation has mobilized many workers to participate in frontline rescue activities, aiming to help facilities cope with the increasing number of patients.

"We usually receive two to three patients with heatstroke in our daily work in the summer but the number has jumped to 10 every day since Friday," Tian Zhenbiao, the director of the 999 emergency rescue center, told METRO on Sunday.

He added that the heat had also triggered a 10 percent increase in patients with cardio-cerebrovascular problems.

The center has been going through a busy period ever since early July when the city's meteorological center issued the year's first orange-coded heat alert and the city's temperature peaked at 40.6 degrees Celsius on July 5.

The center has already added 20 extra ambulances to its emergency rescue team, aiming to meet the demands of the increasing number of patients.

Due to the extreme weather, Beijing's power consumption exceeded 15 million kilowatts for the first time in history on July 23, around 5 million kilowatts of which was gobbled up by air-conditioners, according to a report from the Mirror Evening News.

The new record for the consumption of electricity was 3.3 percent higher than the first peak this summer, which was set on July 6 with approximately 14.68 million kilowatts used.

The maximum amount of power consumed in 2009 was around 14.25 million kilowatts.