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Duration of heat tipped to break record

Pub Date:2022-08-17 09:33 Source:China Daily

Sky-high temperatures continue to scorch many parts of the country

The high temperatures that arrived earlier than normal and lasted longer this year in China could become more common in the years to come as the world continues to heat up, according to a top meteorological expert.

"It is rare that such a strong heat wave affects such a large range of areas," said Chen Lijuan, chief forecaster from the National Climate Center.

The National Meteorological Center issued the first red warning of the year-the first since related standards were adjusted in 2013, to be exact-for high temperatures on Friday, and has since renewed it every day.

Red is the highest alert in China's four-tier weather warning system for extreme heat.

The center forecast that the duration of this year's regional high temperatures, which have yet to end, will break the 62-day record set in 2013, becoming the longest heat wave since 1961.

"The intensity of the temperature may be at its highest since 1961," Chen said.

In this case, "intensity" is assessed by the average temperature, range of influence and duration.

The heat has affected many southern parts of the country since June and is expected to linger for the next two weeks, the National Meteorological Center forecast.

Chongqing has dominated the high temperature rankings list released by the center.

This summer, the city has set local record highs for average temperature, minimum temperature and consecutive days with maximum temperatures above 40 C.

Meteorological data showed that the average number of high temperature days in the city is the second longest for the same period since 1951.

Looking ahead until Aug 22, the highest temperature forecast for most parts of Chongqing is 44 C and areas along the Yangtze River, including Chongqing, are expected to experience drought.

"According to our analysis, it is still highly possible that less precipitation will fall in the Yangtze River Basin. There may be drought in both summer and autumn, especially in the middle and lower reaches of the river," Chen said.

Water levels in many sections of the Yangtze River have fallen significantly, in some places to record lows, because of the heat.

As of 8 am on Tuesday, water levels in Anqing, Anhui province had dropped to 8.13 meters, the river's lowest for the period, the city's hydrographic office said.

In a riverside wetland in Wuhu, many rocks now lie exposed, something normally seen only in winter, residents said.

Authorities in Anqing said evaporation since the beginning of August has been about 70 percent more than normal because of scorching temperatures.

The Anhui meteorological bureau compared satellite data from August with that of May and found that water bodies in the province had shrunk by 17 percent as of Thursday.

Due to the extreme temperatures the upper reaches of a river in Chishui, Guizhou province are depleted and waterfalls at a nearby scenic spot ran dry on Saturday, according to one local tourism company.

The Jiangsu meteorological service issued a warning on Sunday, saying that expressway road surface temperatures could reach as high as 72 C, increasing the danger of blowouts.

On Sunday, the Changsha education bureau in Hunan province issued an emergency notice for middle and high schools to stop all outdoor training activities for freshmen to avoid heatstroke.

Contact the writers at lihongyang@chinadaily.com.cn

Editor:Fanxi Feng

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