Heat waves batter major cities in China’s Yangtze River Basin

  • Over 90 red alerts have been issued across China for high temperatures
  • Shanghai issues rare red alerts for the city
  • Grid power load reached a record level in seven provinces and regions

BEIJING (Reuters) – Severe heat waves swept through China’s vast Yangtze River basin on Wednesday, pummeling densely populated megacities from Shanghai on the coast to Chengdu deep in the heart.

More than 90 red alerts, the most severe in the three-degree warning system, were active across China as of 3:30 p.m. (0730 GMT), most of them in the Yangtze River Basin, which stretches for nearly 2,000 km ( 1200 miles).

Shanghai, China’s commercial capital, issued its second red alert in four days, warning of temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). Construction and other outdoor activities are being reduced or stopped under a red alert, which is historically rare for a city of 25 million people.

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In Nanjing, a nearby city of more than 9 million, a 77-year-old resident said summer “has never been hotter.”

Zhejiang province south of Shanghai issued a record 51 red alert in one day, with local media reporting people hospitalized with or even dying from heatstroke.

Chinese weather watchers have described the heat wave in the past 30 days as widespread, long and extreme, and due to the increasing demand for air conditioners, the load on power grids in seven provinces and regions has reached a record level, according to Chinese weather watchers. for government media.

The hashtag #heatstroke was trending on social media with 2.45 million views on the Weibo platform, with discussions ranging from people being hospitalized to the harmful effects of long-term heat exposure.

Like a food steamer

In Chengdu, the capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, a scheduled network outage and update this week coincided with hot weather, prompting loud protests from some of its 21 million residents on social media.

“This is a widespread blackout,” said one netizen on Weibo.

“The power supply to the population cannot be guaranteed. Nobody is doing anything about it.”

Temperatures in the southwestern Chinese city of Yanjin hit 44 degrees Celsius on Monday, state television reported, the highest since records began in 1959.

The National Climate Center said Wednesday that warming events in the past month affected more than 900 million of China’s 1.4 billion people and a total area of ​​5 million square kilometers, or half the country.

In Henan province, maintenance workers cleaned and checked air conditioners on top of trains passing through its capital, Zhengzhou, the transportation hub in central China, under the penetrating sun.

“Here, it’s so hot, it’s like a pot of steaming food,” said Wang Mian, a worker.

“Our clothes are wet every day, and sometimes never dry.”

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(Additional reporting by Ryan Wu, Alby Zhang, and Bernard Orr); Additional reporting from the Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Louise Heavens, Edwina Gibbs and John Stonestreet

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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