Southern China's heatwave is grinding on. The hot weather began in several eastern and southern areas in early July. Since then, nineteen provinces covering about a third of the country have endured 20 or more unbroken days of scorching heat.
43 cities and counties have seen temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius. In Shanghai, the 41 degrees recorded on July 26 was the highest there for at least 140 years.
In Shanghai alone, at least ten people have died of heat stroke. The authorities there have been advising people to avoid outdoor activities whenever possible and take measures necessary to stay cool. Likewise in neighboring Zhejiang where temperatures have reached 43 degrees.
Elsewhere in Zhejiang, a week of non-stop heat caused the glass panes in road barriers to crack, and the cement surface of roads themselves to warp upwards by as much as 19 centimeters. In the village of Shitan, a car left parked under the sun spontaneously burst into flames. Electrical failure brought on by the heat is suspected to have been the cause.
This week China's meteorological administration issued its first-ever emergency level-two nationwide heat alert. High temperatures, it warned, could continue until August 8.