On Thursday (June 22), the city of Beijing, the Chinese capital, raised an orange weather alert, the second-highest level, as temperatures soared above 40 degrees Celsius for the first time in nine years. The city has issued a warning about scorching hot weather expected to continue throughout the weekend, with a returning heatwave that previously affected northern China.
According to the municipal weather bureau, a weather station on the southern outskirts of Beijing recorded a temperature of 40.1 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) at 1:25 p.m. local time (0525 GMT), surpassing the 40-degree threshold for the first time since May 29, 2014.
Authorities in Beijing, a city with a population of nearly 22 million, have also indicated that temperatures could reach as high as 39 degrees Celsius from Thursday to Saturday.
Last week, Beijing, along with Tianjin, Hebei, and Shandong in northern and eastern China, experienced heatwaves. In response, local authorities took measures to protect crops and ensure the safety of tourists. They also suspended outdoor work during the hottest part of the day.
The national weather bureau had issued a heat stroke alert earlier than in previous years. Cities across northern China have faced record-breaking temperatures, with increased electricity demand for air-conditioning pushing power grid load to 14.54 million kilowatts in the port city of Tianjin, a 23 percent increase compared to the previous year. Local authorities have been conducting daily patrols in underground tunnels to ensure the proper functioning of electrical cables.
The current heatwave coincides with the Dragon Boat Festival long weekend in China. The China Meteorological Administration predicts that the heatwave will also impact the northern Chinese region of Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang in the far west.
China utilizes a four-tier, color-coded weather warning system, with red being the most severe, followed by orange, yellow, and blue. An orange alert is issued when the maximum temperature exceeds 40 degrees Celsius in a single day or remains above 37 degrees Celsius for two consecutive days.