Beijing braces for blistering hot weather as heatwaves return
BEIJING — Beijing on Thursday issued its second-most severe warning for high temperatures that are expected to persist through the weekend as northern China battled another round of heatwaves in a week.
The Chinese capital raised an orange alert, warning temperatures could rise as high as 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit) in most parts of the city from Thursday to Saturday.
Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Shandong in northern China were hammered by heatwaves last week, prompting local authorities to step up efforts to safeguard crops, ensure the safety of tourists, and suspend outdoor work during the hottest part of the day.
Last week, the national weather bureau issued an alert for heat stroke, almost a fortnight earlier than in previous years, as new record temperatures for the month of June assailed cities across northern China.
In the port city of Tianjin, increased demand for air-conditioning pushed its power grid load to 14.54 million kilowatts on June 15, up 23% from a year earlier, and spurred its local utility department to dispatch workers to patrol underground tunnels every day to ensure electrical cables are in working order.
The latest round of heatwaves, coinciding with the Dragon Boat Festival long weekend in China, will also hit the northern Chinese region of Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang in the far west, according to the China Meteorological Administration.
China has a four-tier, colour-coded weather warning system, with red the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.
An orange alert is issued when the maximum temperature exceeds 40 Celsius in a single day, or the maximum temperature remains above 37 Celsius for two consecutive days.