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Shanghai suffers hottest July in more than 100 years

Thousands of people escape the heat and enjoy the water at the Chinese Dead Sea tourist resort as the temperature reaches 38 degrees celsius on July 28, 2013 in Suining, China.
ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images
Thousands of people escape the heat and enjoy the water at the Chinese Dead Sea tourist resort as the temperature reaches 38 degrees celsius on July 28, 2013 in Suining, China.

A deadly persistent heat wave sweeping southern China has led authorities to issue the first-ever, second-highest heat alert across the country on Tuesday, according to local media reports.

The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said unusually high temperatures over 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) could continue until August 8, while some areas in the south like coastal Zhejiang province could see temperatures top over 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

Shanghai, where temperatures surpassed 39 degrees Celsius (102.2 degrees Fahrenheit) on Wednesday, experienced the hottest July since records started over a 100 years ago, with 24 days of temperatures at or above 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), the Shanghai Meteorological Centre said.

(Read more: China's smog— What are the economic costs?)

Over 10 people have died from heat-related health problems in the city, which is the country's largest by population.

People are being advised to limit outdoor activities and take "sufficient" measures to stay in cool conditions on the CMA website.

The extreme heat conditions covers about 19 provinces and regions, ranging in more than 3 million square kilometers - which accounts for almost a third of the country, He Lifu, chief weather forecaster at the CMA told China Daily.

(Read more: China bowing to public outcry over environment: Advocate)

Meteorological authorities are reported to have resorted to seeding clouds in Zhejiang to induce rainfall to combat drought and provide relief from the heat.

The government has opened air-conditioned shelters in several provinces since June.

—By CNBC.com's Rajeshni Naidu-Ghelani; Follow her on Twitter @RajeshniNaidu

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