On Wednesday, scorching heatwaves raced throughout China’s huge Yangtze River valley, pounding heavily populated megacities from Shanghai on the coast to Chengdu in the heartlands.
As of 3:30 p.m. (0730 GMT), more than 90 red warnings, the most severe in a three-tier warning system, were in effect throughout China. The majority were in the Yangtze River basin, which stretches approximately 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles).
The commercial hub of China, Shanghai, issued its second red alert in four days, warning of temperatures topping 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). Under a red warning, construction and other outside activity must be limited or possibly stopped, which is unusual for a metropolis of 25 million people.
This year, China is bracing for a summer of extremes, from searing heatwaves to lengthy downpours. Cities south of the Yangtze, in particular, have experienced both extreme heat and unprecedented precipitation.
“The summer in Nanjing has never been hotter than this year compared with previous years,” claimed a 77-year-old retiree in the metropolis of roughly 9 million people near Shanghai.
“The sun is burning most of the day.”
With 2.45 million views on the Weibo platform of talks ranging from individuals being admitted to hospitals to the harmful consequences of long-term heat exposure, the hashtag #heatstroke was trending on social media.
The southern Chinese province of Zhejiang issued a record 51 red warnings in one day, with local media reporting individuals being brought to hospitals for heatstroke or even dying from it.