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June 18, 2013

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Hottest June 17 on record has Shanghai sweltering

SHANGHAI sweltered yesterday on the hottest day of the year so far with temperatures rising to 36.4 degrees Celsius, making it the hottest June 17 since records began 140 years ago.

The previous hottest June 17 was in 1953, at 35.3 degrees.

It wasn't quite a record for June, however, as temperatures reached 38 degrees in the same month in 1940.

Shanghai Metrological Bureau issued the year's first yellow heat alert at 10:33am yesterday, warning of temperatures reaching around 35-36 degrees at noon. It said city residents should avoid prolonged outdoor activities and advised those who worked outside to take necessary precautions.

A yellow heat alert is the lowest of a three-color warning system. Orange indicates temperatures above 37 degrees and red is for 40 degrees and over.

The bureau's Xujiahui observatory recorded a temperature of 34.9 degrees at 11:15am, climbing to over 36 degrees just three hours later.

The rapid rise in heat intensified the humidity and shrouded the city in haze, with air quality reaching the "lightly polluted" level.

Shanghai experienced a sharp increase in temperature because a subtropical high strengthened and there was scorching sunshine, said Kong Chunyan, a chief service officer at the bureau.

The city should sizzle for another day today with a high of 35 degrees but there is a possibility of showers or thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Moderate to heavy rain is forecast tomorrow, with temperatures ranging from 25 to 30 degrees.

On Thursday, it should be slightly cooler with light to moderate rain. Both Friday and Saturday are expected to be overcast, with a low of 22 degrees and a high of 29.

Shanghai is still in the midst of the plum rain season, which is marked by weeks of rains and high humidity. The season began on June 7 this year, 10 days earlier than usual, but forecasters haven't said when it will end, although it usually lasts about 24 days.

Last year's plum rain season lasted 17 days to July 3 in Shanghai.

The season usually starts in mid-June and ends in early July along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. The climate during this period features continual rain and heat. Ancient Chinese timed the arrival of the season by the growth of plums, hence the name.


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