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High temperatures grab hold of China

07-07-2010 13:56 BJT Special Report:China Battles Heat Wave |

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Today marks the 11th seasonal division point on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. It's called "Minor Heat," and marks the start of three 10-day periods of extremely torrid weather. According to historical data, the hottest days in most of China's provinces and regions occur during this period.

The majority of the country is currently experiencing an extreme heat wave, with temperatures reaching more than 38 degrees Celsius. Beijing, the southern and central parts of Heibei Province, the northwest area of Shandong Province, and the northern part of Henan Province are the hottest places, with peak thermometer readings topping 40 degrees Celsius.

Temperature readings in the Chinese capital reached 40.6 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, the highest early July measurement in 60 years. The Meteorological Center has raised a yellow-coded heat alert to orange as a precaution.

Heat stroke cases have doubled at local hospitals over the past three days, but many tourists refuse to diverge from their holiday plans. Tian'anmen Square was filled with thirsty visitors, sheltered under a sea of umbrellas.

Tourist from Nanjing Fang Yiding said, "It's really hot! Walking on the road makes you really want to go to sleep. I'm so sleepy. We came here because we've never seen it, so we came for our holidays."

Many local residents headed to the city's lakes, hoping for cooler air.

Beijing resident Han Jianbo said, "It's really just too hot. There's no way to describe it. It's too hot. But that's okay, because here by the lake, we can enjoy the coolness."

Others took refuge in air-conditioned shopping centers, while some people simply gave in, and fell asleep. The sweltering heat brings worries to many residents that it could be a sign of global climate change.

Government employee Chen Xin said, "This year the temperature in Beijing seems so high. Does it have anything to do with the environment? I think it probably does. Isn't the entire climate warming up?"

Weather forecasts say rains are expected to fall across parts of China starting on Thursday, offering some respite to a wide-ranging heat wave that has wreaked havoc across the country over the past few days. People are urged to avoid outdoor activities, and refrain from consuming extremely cold and oily food and drinks.

Editor:Zhang Ning |Source: CNTV.CN

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