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July 27, 2013

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Phew, what a scorcher! Shanghai hasn't been this hot since 1873

SHANGHAI recorded its highest temperature in 140 years yesterday - 40.6 degrees Celsius.

However, showers and thunderstorms expected to arrive throughout the weekend may help to cool the city a little but temperatures are still expected to be around 38 to 39 degrees.

The Xujiahui weather reporting station recorded 40.6 degrees at around 1:30pm. It was the highest that the station had recorded since it began monitoring temperatures in 1873.

The previous record, 40.2 degrees, was set in 1934.

"Some short period of thundershowers will occur frequently in the afternoons over the weekend to end the previous dry and hot days," said Man Liping, a chief service officer with the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

Temperatures could remain above 38 degrees throughout the week as a subtropical high-pressure ridge continues to sit above eastern China, she said.

Noon yesterday saw the city's second red alert for high temperatures in as many days.

A red alert is the highest in a three-color system, which also includes orange and yellow, and warns of temperatures expected to be in excess of 40 degrees.

Temperatures soared to over that figure around 2pm yesterday in Xuhui, Songjiang and Minhang districts as well as the Pudong New Area.

There was slight relief after 3pm when heavy showers brought temperatures down to around 33 degrees.

The southern parts of Baoshan District recorded 45 millimeters of rain while other areas of the city received an average of 25 millimeters, the weather bureau said.

As temperatures soared, Shanghai's zoo and parks provided cool drinks, air conditioning, ice cubes and water sprayers to protect animals from the scorching heat.

Shanghai Zoo said mung bean soup, vegetables and fruits were being added to the animals' diets.

Gorillas and elephants were being fed watermelons and iced orange juice, while penguins, which are particularly vulnerable to the heat, were being sprayed with water every 30 seconds to cool them down, said Bai Jiaming, a zoo official.

Officials at the Shanghai Wildlife Park said it was using air conditioning and ice cubes to keep animals cool. Animals are being fed juicier food, and veterinarians are on alert in case animals fall ill, said Ni Li, an official at the park.

Golden monkeys are getting watermelons and small animals are being given showers more frequently to keep them cool, she said. Some of the animals are kept indoors when temperatures climb to more than 30 degrees.

The city's parks are also taking measures to protect plants. Electric fans are being used in greenhouses at the Shanghai Botanical Garden to ensure good ventilation, while nets and other materials are being used outdoors to protect the plants from the sunshine.

"The consecutive high temperature days and shortage of rain have posed a severe threat to plants," said Wang Yuqin, a park official.

Plants are being watered more frequently and sprayed with insecticide to prevent insect pests and disease, Wang said.


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