No immediate relief in sight for heatwave gripping China
The latest heatwave has hammered an area of 5.021 million square kilometers in China since June 13, affecting more than 900 million people, according to the National Climate Center.
Deaths due to severe heat stroke have been reported in east China's Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces and southwest Sichuan Province from the beginning of July.
Global warming is the root cause of the frequent heatwaves in the Northern Hemisphere in recent years, according to an expert from the center.
How many days of high temperatures?
From June to July 12, China recorded an average of 5.3 days of high temperatures – above 35 degrees Celsius – the most during the same period since 1961, the center said.
High temperatures occurred 10 to 20 days in the south of Shaanxi, Henan and Hebei provinces, central and western parts of Shandong Province, the provinces of Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, central and northern Hubei Province, Chongqing Municipality, the central and southern parts of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and western Inner Mongolia.
How big is the impact of the extreme heat?
A total of 71 weather stations across the country have reported record-high temperatures.
Lingshou, Gaocheng and Zhengding in Hebei Province and Yanjin in Yunnan Province reported daily maximum temperatures over 44 degrees Celsius.
Why so hot this year?
The periodic La Nina event continues to impact the world's climate and is fueling the heatwave in southern China.
In July, the mid-latitude warm and high pressure belt strengthened, which resulted in extremely high temperatures across a wide area and drove normal temperatures even higher.
How long will it last?
China's National Meteorological Center predicts high-temperature weather in regions south of the Yangtze River and southern China until July 26.
By Saturday, the Sichuan Basin, central Shaanxi Province, Jianghan area in Hubei, the Jianghuai region in Anhui and Jiangsu, regions south of the Yangtze River and southern China will see more high temperatures and less rain.
Daily highs will be about 35-38 degrees, and up to 39 in some areas.
From Sunday to next Wednesday, rainfall will alleviate the high temperatures in the Sichuan Basin, Jianghan, Jianghuai, western regions south of the Yangtze River, the northern areas along the river, and northwestern areas of southern China.
After July 21, another round of extreme heat is expected to affect Fujian, Jiangxi and southern Zhejiang, with highs up to 41 degrees.
What is the impact?
Seven provincial-level power grids in Hebei, Shandong, Henan, Shaanxi, Gansu, the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and the northwestern areas of the State Grid have hit record high loads since June 13.
Soil moisture has fallen due to the heat and low rainfall in eastern Zhejiang, western Henan, southern Shaanxi, southern Gansu and northern Sichuan.
From July 27 to August 11, most parts of China will continue to experience temperatures an average of 1 to 2 degrees higher than normal for the time of year, the National Climate Center said.