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July 3, 2012

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Temperature is to hit 38 this week

SHANGHAI'S temperature is expected to dip just slightly today with thundershowers, but then rise again to 38 degrees Celsius tomorrow and Thursday, city weather authority said yesterday.

And it's not cooling off anytime soon.

The city's mercury reached 37 degrees Celsius yesterday afternoon, the highest daily temperature so far this year. It was also the third consecutive day for the mercury to reach at least 36 degrees, said the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

Such scorching weather is expected to continue in the following five to seven days, bureau officials said.

With the influence of both the southern edge of the rain belt around the Yangtze and Huaihe rivers and a subtropical high, Shanghai should experience heat and thundershowers today with the high expected around 35 degrees Celsius.

With the northern movement of the rain belt, sunny and hot weather should dominate the city starting tomorrow. "There should be another five high-temperature days after Wednesday," said Zhu Jiehua, a chief service officer of the bureau.

Shanghai's mercury increased sharply yesterday, causing the bureau to issue a yellow heat alert at 8:30am, the lowest of the three-level system, warning that the mercury will hit 35. But the temperature did not stop rising after reaching 35 degrees at 11am and caused the yellow alert to be upgraded to an orange, the second highest, at 12:50pm. It was also the first orange heat alert this year, Zhu said. The reading finally reached 37 at 1:08pm.

Shanghai should experience about 22 days with the high above 35 degrees this summer, which should be one day fewer than the 10-year average, according to the bureau's earlier predictions.

Shanghai's power load reached 24,263 megawatts yesterday, also the highest this year, as the heat continued, said the Shanghai Electric Power Co, the city's power supplier. Home power problems such as blown fuses increased as well with the widespread use of air conditioners, the company said. Chinese speakers in Shanghai can dial the 24-hour hotline of 95598 if the power goes out. The company suggested setting air conditioners above 26 degrees Celsius to save power.

This summer, shopping malls and office buildings may be asked to turn off air conditioners for one or two hours at peak periods if the city's power supply is strained, the company had announced earlier.

Hospitals reported an increase in patients with various ailments as the mercury rose. Fever patients at Shanghai Children's Medical Center increased by 10 percent from previous days. "We had over 240 fever patients by 3pm," said Xia Lin, a hospital official. "Children usually caught cold after staying in air-conditioned rooms for a long time, having walked into the room while they were sweating."


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