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Heat wave to linger until next week

By Li Menghan in Beijing and Shi Baoyin in Zhengzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-13 07:38
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Two children wearing sun-protective clothing visit the Palace Museum amid hot weather in Beijing, June 12, 2024. [Photo/CFP]

The scorching heat, which has engulfed China since Saturday and broken historical records in some areas, is expected to linger until next Thursday, a meteorological expert said on Wednesday.

"This heat wave is characterized by its prolonged duration, extensive reach and high intensity," said Fu Jiaolan, chief forecaster at the National Meteorological Center.

"Daily maximum temperatures in certain areas have reached or exceeded their historical records for the same period."

Since Saturday, this year's first significant heat wave has hit areas in North, East, Central and Northeast China, with central and southern parts of Hebei province, the southern part of Tianjin, the northwestern part of Henan province, and the central and western parts of Shandong province experiencing temperatures as high as 42 C, Fu said.

The National Meteorological Center has issued high temperature alerts for six consecutive days since Friday evening. On Sunday evening, the center elevated the yellow alert to orange in the three-tier, color-coded warning system for high temperatures. Red represents the most severe level, followed by orange and yellow.

On Wednesday, meteorological departments in the severely heat-affected regions of Shanxi province, Shandong, Henan and Hebei, issued red alerts for high temperatures.

"A continental high-pressure ridge and the eastward movement of a warm air mass are the primary causes for the heat wave," said Fu, adding that the recent sunny and low humidity conditions provided a favorable environment for the rise in temperatures.

The ongoing heat in North China and the provinces of Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu and Shandong is expected to reach its peak by Thursday, and ease off with the projected arrival of cold air and light rainfall next Thursday. North China may experience a drop in temperatures next Friday and Saturday, she said.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs launched a Level 4 emergency response to major natural disasters on Tuesday, warning of the impact that persistently high temperatures and drought may have on crops such as corn and soybean in provinces including Hebei, Shanxi, Jiangsu, Anhui, Shandong, Henan and Shaanxi.

The Henan climate center issued an orange drought alert — the second most severe level in the classification system — on Wednesday, with 72 national meteorological stations across 16 city-level regions in Henan reporting 10 consecutive days of severe drought.

The drought situation is expected to continue intensifying until next Thursday, leading the provincial climate center to propose activating emergency backup water sources, implementing artificial rainfall measures and curbing water consumption in the services sector to guarantee the water supply for major crops.

"Drought resistance and summer planting is the primary task for this period," said Dong Haiying, an agricultural technician in Kaifeng, Henan.

"After planting corn, the crops need to be continuously watered to ensure a high germination rate," Dong said, adding that it was necessary to have timely information on issues such as crop diseases and pests to ensure the autumn harvest.

Some areas in North China have recently not only experienced high temperatures, but also encountered severe convective weather. On Tuesday, Beijing experienced temperatures exceeding 35 C during the day and was hit by severe convective weather in the evening, with thunder, lightning, hail, strong winds and heavy rainfall occurring at around 7 pm.

Shi Yan, a meteorological analyst at China Weather, said it's normal to experience continuous high temperatures and frequent thunderstorms at the same time. The warm air generated by daytime high temperatures interacts with a southward-moving cold air mass, stimulating strong convective weather.

More such weather is expected to hit areas such as Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei on Thursday and Friday.

Qi Xin in Zhengzhou contributed to this story.

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