A security guard is on duty in the scorching sun along the Bund as a thermometer displays the temperature reaching 42 degrees Celsius in Shanghai, China, 6 August 2013. Photo: Imaginechina via AP Images

By Justin Grieser
8 August 2013

(Washington Post) – While the eastern U.S. and Canada have recently seen below-normal temperatures, a major summer heat wave has been the story in eastern China since early July.

Shanghai saw its hottest July in 140 years as temperatures soared to 100ºF or higher for 10 straight days between July 23 and August 1. The coastal city reached 95ºF (35ºC) or higher on 25 days last month, 14 of which exceeded 100ºF (37.8ºC).

This week, Shanghai eclipsed its all-time record high temperature set barely two weeks ago. The Shanghai Daily reports that the city’s meteorological bureau recorded a temperature of 105.4ºF (40.8ºC) on August 7, which breaks the previous record of 105.1º (40.6ºC) from both July 26 and August 6, 2013.  Prior to this year, the all-time high at Shanghai’s Xujiahui weather observatory was 104.4ºF set in 1934.

High humidity and trapped urban heat have also kept overnight temperatures several degrees above normal. On July 29, Shanghai only dropped to 88ºF (31ºC). Normal high and low temperatures in the metropolis are about 91 and 78 degrees, respectively, this time of year.

The ongoing heat wave in eastern China has caused at least 10 deaths, depleted water resources, and strained regional power grids.

Other major cities in eastern and southern China have been as hot, if not hotter, than Shanghai. The Global Times reports that China’s National Meteorological Center issued a red temperature alert – its highest-level heat warning – for the 14th straight day.

High temperatures on August 7 broke records at 130 weather stations across the country, and 30 stations measured their all-time highest temperatures on record this year.

Last week, Weather Underground’s Christopher Burt wrote that Ningbo City, south of Shanghai, reached 108.9ºF (42.7ºC) on July 26 – the warmest temperature ever measured along China’s eastern or southeastern coast. Asian news outlets are reporting the temperature on Wednesday reached an even higher 110.3ºF (43.5ºC) in nearby Fenghua, which would also be a record for the surrounding Zheijiang Province. […]

As eastern and southern China wilt under the heat, the normally arid northwestern provinces have faced major flooding and above-average rainfall. The Xinhua news agency writes that July precipitation measured 12.9 inches (328.1 mm) in China’s northern Shandong province, a 50-year high. [more]

Shanghai sets new all-time record (again) as heat wave bakes eastern China


A man takes pictures on the partially dried up riverbed of Dongshaoxi River in Deqing county, Zhejiang province, 7 August 2013. The current heat wave has swept 13 provincial-level areas across China, leaving about 5.95 million people and 1.72 million heads of livestock lacking drinking water. Severe drought in Zhejiang province has caused direct economic losses of 1.53 billion yuan (248 million USD) and affected about 314,133 hectares (776,239 acres) of farmland, Xinhua News Agency reported. Photo: William Hong / REUTERS

8 August 2013 (Global Times – Xinhua) – China's top meteorological authority maintained a red high temperature alert for the 14th day in a row, forecasting that most regions in southern China will be baked by temperatures above 37 C on Thursday.

In the latest statement on the National Meteorological Center's website, areas in  provincial regions including Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Anhui, Shanghai, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Fujian and Chongqing will experience temperatures as high as 42 C.

Much of Shandong and Henan provinces in northern China will also reach a high of 35 C, said the center.

In the three-day forecast, there is no sign of temperatures dropping. The ongoing summer heat wave will continue to wreak havoc despite Wednesday marking the start of Autumn, or Liqiu in the Chinese lunar calendar, which signals the passing of summer and a cooling of the weather, said the National Meteorological Center.

The center said that Wednesday saw temperatures above 35 C in 16 provincial regions, covering an area of 1.56 million square kilometers, or 16 percent of the country. Some 70,000 square kilometers of the country suffered from extremely high temperatures of over 40 C.

By 4 pm Wednesday, the highest temperature in the country - 43.5 C - was recorded in Jiangjin district, Chongqing Municipality and Fenghua, Zhejiang Province.

On Wednesday, 130 monitoring stations across the country broke their record for high temperatures this year, while 30 of them noted the highest temperature since they were established.

The Xujiahui station in downtown Shanghai witnessed a 40.8 C in temperature Wednesday, the highest since the municipality started to keep weather figures 140 years ago.

This heat wave, which surfaced in July, has caused water shortages, power supply tension and problems with growing crops. About 4 million hectares of farmland in southern China have been affected by the drought, according to the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters on Monday.

Heat wave to continue as authorities stay on red alert

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