China has ordered employers to cease outdoor work in Beijing as it braces for further intensifying heat after 10 consecutive days of temperatures shooting beyond 35C – a hot weather streak not seen since 1961.
Beijing is forecast to sizzle under 40C heat in the coming days and the government has issued a “red alert”, which is the highest level in the country’s warning system for extreme temperatures.
To combat the heatwave, the city government has issued a notice directing relevant departments and units to implement emergency measures to protect vulnerable population.
“Relevant departments and units shall take emergency measures for heatstroke prevention and cooling,” said a city government notice. It told employers to “stop outdoor operations”.
The record-shattering hot temperature streak in Beijing for more than a week has become the longest recorded since 1961, said a government report on Monday.
The extreme temperatures have been in complete contrast to conditions in southern China.
The region has grappled with widespread flooding that has killed 15 people and forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes, with the weather department warning that the country can be hit by “multiple natural disasters” this month.
Videos on social media showed raging rivers in towns and cities and people being evacuated through waist-deep water. One clip showed rescuers breaking through a window security mesh to reach people trapped in an apartment.
The extreme weather phenomena also come as temperature records are being shattered globally.
The world recorded its hottest day on record on Monday with temperatures again matching on Wednesday in what scientists said is a result of global heating coupled with the El Nino phenomenon.
The situation in southern China remains critical and on Wednesday, the government issued an alert for possible flash flooding in Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Tibet and Sichuan.
These regions in the north, northeast and southwest of the country are on high alert as they face the dual challenges of extreme heat and flooding.
China has been experiencing torrid temperatures this summer starting from April, with many weather stations across the country breaking records.
The extreme weather in the country comes as several others in Asia, Africa Europe and the Americas experiencing unusual levels of heat.
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