BEIJING : China’s commercial capital of Shanghai and dozens of other Chinese cities baked in scorching temperatures as unusually hot weather buckled roads, popped roof tiles and drove people to seek the cool in raid shelters underground. By 3pm (local time) on Tuesday, 86 cities had issued red alerts, the highest in a three-tier warning system, warning of temperatures of over 40° Celsius in the next 24 hours. Construction and other outdoor work are to be halted.
Shanghai told its population of 25 million to prepare for hot weather this week after issuing its first red alert in five years on Sunday. Since record-keeping began in 1873, Shanghai has had just 15 days of temperatures exceeding 40°C.
In a photo shared on social media, a Covid health worker in a full-body hazmat suit hugged a one-metre tall block of ice by a road. Authorities citing climate change have warned against disasters from mid-July, usually the hottest and wettest time of year.
In a town in Jiangxi province, a section of a road arched up (6 inches because of the heat, state television showed. Nanjing, one of China’s three “furnaces” notorious for their searing summers, has opened its underground air-raid shelters to residents since Sunday, with its war-time bunkers equipped with WiFi, books and microwave ovens. The city issued a red alert on Tuesday.
In Chongqing, the second “furnace”, the roof of one museum melted, with the tiles of a traditional Chinese roof popping as the heat dissolved the underlying tar.