Published: 13:07, June 23, 2023 | Updated: 20:42, June 23, 2023
Heat wave: China issues 2nd highest alert, emergency response
By Xinhua

Children play at an interactive fountain in Haidian district of Beijing, June 22, 2023. (GENG FEIFEI / CHINA DAILY)

BEIJING – China's Meteorological Administration on Friday activated a level IV – the lowest level in a four-tier system – emergency response for high temperatures, as scorching heat and heavy rains are forecast to hit large parts of the country in the coming days.

The administration said that multiple major observatories in Beijing, Tianjin, as well as Hebei and Shandong provinces registered record-shattering temperatures on Thursday. 

The response came hours after the National Meteorological Center issued this year's first orange alert, the second-highest alert, for high temperatures. 

ALSO READ: Beijing advises caution as temperatures surpass 40 C

China has a three-tier, color-coded warning system for high temperatures, with red representing the most severe warning, followed by orange and yellow.

Beijing upgraded its warning for hot weather to red, the highest level, Friday morning. It was the first time for the city to issue the highest alert since adopting the new categorization protocol in June 2015

The administration forecast that heat waves will continue for 10 days in Beijing, Tianjin and other parts of North China, as well as some regions in Henan and Anhui provinces. 

It has urged regular monitoring, cross-regional coordination and consistent forecast and early warning services to handle the severe heat. 

The administration required authorities in affected regions, such as Beijing, Tianjin, as well as provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Henan, and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, to initiate or adjust local emergency response levels based on local situation.

Beijing, the capital, upgraded its warning for hot weather to red, the highest level, on Friday morning. It was the first time for the city to issue the highest alert since adopting the new categorization protocol in June 2015. 

From 8 am to 4 pm Thursday, temperatures in parts of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Shandong rose rapidly, with the highest temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius. A total of 17 national meteorological observatories located in these four provincial-level regions reported record-high temperatures.

The temperature at a meteorological station in southern Beijing soared to 41.1 degrees Celsius at 3:19 pm Thursday – the second-highest reading since reliable records began, according to the Beijing Meteorological Service.

The highest temperature ever recorded at the Nanjiao station was 41.9 degrees Celsius on July 24, 1999.

People try to protect themselves from heat with umbrellas as they walk on a sidewalk in Tianjin amid scorching heat, June 22, 2023. (TONG YU / CHINA DAILY)

On Thursday afternoon, Hebei upgraded emergency responses to high temperatures, issuing a red alert as temperatures in the cities of Langfang, Cangzhou and Hengshui, as well as parts of the cities of Baoding, Shijiazhuang and Xingtai, are expected to reach 40 to 42 degrees Celsius on Friday.

READ MORE: Heat wave in southern China breaking records

In the next 10 days, places including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Henan, Shandong and Inner Mongolia will be faced with medium-level risks of high temperatures, the demand for electricity and energy will surge, and outdoor activities may lead to heat stroke, said Zhang Fanghua, chief forecaster of the National Meteorological Center.

Constructors eat watermelons at a construction site in Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area on June 16, 2023. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

In the meantime, the National Meteorological Center renewed a yellow alert — the lowest level in the color-coded system — for rainstorms on Friday morning. 

Heavy rains are projected to hit parts of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, as well as provinces of Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, Fujian, Guangdong and Yunnan Saturday morning.