China is currently facing a 40C (104F heatwave. Some provinces are already on the most severe alert. Officials warn of forest fires, glacial melt, and mudslides.
After the above-average temperatures of June and early July, Saturday in the Chinese lunar calendar is the day with ‘big heat.
According to the Ministry of Emergency Management, the increased demand for air conditioning in homes, offices, and factories could cause disruptions in the national power grid.
Leo Zhang, the president of Sika China, a chemical manufacturer, stated Friday that “all the factories in China as well as in Shanghai have regulations that must be followed” after officials warned of “severe testing”.
Drought could cause crop destruction in rural areas, like Xinjiang on the border to Kyrgyzstan.
Xinjiang is home to China’s Uyghur people and is where 20% of the world’s cotton is grown.
Potential glacial melt elsewhere in the province could lead to dam failure.
Chen Chunyan (chief expert at the Xinjiang Meteorological Observatory), stated that “continued high temperatures have accelerated glacial melt in mountainous regions and caused natural catastrophes such as flash floods and mudslides in many places” to state media.
20 Provinces on High Alert
According to the National Meteorological Centre, 20 of China’s 31 provinces were told to prepare for extreme temperatures. Shanghai and coastal areas are likely to be the most affected. Experts blame climate change.
Forest fires are also possible in parts of Hunan and Guangdong as well as Jiangxi.
China’s maximum temperatures are largely unknown. A local news outlet reported that 50.3C (122.5F), was recorded at a weather station in Xinjiang near Ayding in 2015.
Officials in Shanghai reported that July temperatures of 40.9C (105.6F), were the highest recorded. This was the first time this temperature had been achieved since 2017.
According to the Meteorological Administration, temperatures could rise up to 50C (122F), in certain regions by Friday.