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August 14, 2010

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40°C! City cooks under a record high

The thermometer hit 40 degrees Celsius in Shanghai yesterday and weather officials said the scorching weather will continue at least to the end of the weekend.

The city's weather bureau issued a red heat alert -- highest of the three-scale system -- at 1:20pm yesterday. It was the first citywide red heat alert this year.

Yesterday's minimum temperature was also a record. At 32.1 degrees, it was the highest minimum in the city since records began in 1873.

The 40-degree high was recorded at the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau's yardstick Xujiahui station.

But it was even hotter in the Pudong New Area at 40.5 degrees and on the World Expo site which recorded 40.7 degrees.

Apart from the relatively cool Chongming County, maximum temperatures in other areas of the city all exceeded 39 degrees, the bureau reported.

Despite the heat, more than 383,000 visitors were at the Expo yesterday. Organizers said they used around 1,000 ice blocks on site to keep them cool. They also installed more than 500 electric fans at entrances and more than 2,000 benches at pavilion waiting areas.

The continuing hot weather is putting pressure on the city's electricity resources.

"We kept the power supply limitations in several areas, ensuring residential areas' power consumption," said Wang Changxing, an official with the Shanghai Electric Power Co Ltd.

Power restrictions had been imposed on some companies and factories in Yangpu, Baoshan and Songjiang districts, the company said.

It was so hot yesterday afternoon that a minibus on the Yan'an Elevated Road caught fire. No one was injured in the blaze which destroyed the vehicle in about 10 minutes. Traffic police said the heat sparked an electric short circuit, which ignited the vehicle.

Weathermen say temperatures may drop to 37 degrees tomorrow, and to 34 degrees on Monday. But, from Tuesday, another heat wave will hit the city, with temperatures rising to 35 to 36 degrees.

Thunderstorms are also expected.

The government is reminding local businesses to adjust or shorten working hours for staff who have to work outdoors when the bureau issues heat alerts.

The maximum temperature in the city hit 40 degrees on July 20 last year. Before that, the last 40-degree days were in the 1930s and 1940s. The highest temperature in the city's history was in 1934, when 40.2 degrees was recorded at the Xujiahui station, the weather bureau said.


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