A sweltering heat wave that has left 19 people dead throughout China shows no signs of letting up.
The National Meteorological Center (NMC) has issued an orange weather alert for regions including the middle and lower reaches of Yangtze River and most parts of southeastern China.
The record breaking temperatures, which began July 20th, have affected upwards of 700 million people. Earlier this week, the temperature in southern Hubei, central Hunan and western Zhejiang provinces reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
As temperatures soared over 40 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, Chongqing issued its first heat-related red alert of the year, as did Hubei Province.
Shanghai issued its second heat-related red alert of the year on Thursday, a day after temperatures reached 40.3 degrees Celsius, the city’s third-hottest day in recorded history.
As of Wednesday, the heat wave has been blamed for 19 fatalities brought on by heatstroke. The victims include eight in Jiangsu Province, four in Anhui Province, six in Shandong Province, and one in Shanghai.
More than 100 cases of heatstroke have been reported in Jiangsu Province, with 20 people in serious condition. Nanjing in Jiangsu Province has reported 70 heatstroke cases.
With more residents turning to air conditioning for relief from the heat, power demand has surged. On July 24, Heifei in Anhui Province consumed a record 5,171.4 megawatts of electricity. Shanghai also broke records consuming 31,196 megawatts Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Shandong has responded to the high electrical demand by imposing energy restrictions on certain industries.
According to the NMC’s chief forecaster, Ma Xuekuan, the heat wave will continue until the end of July with temperatures expected to reach 41 degrees Celsius in some locations. Afternoon thundershowers are also expected to be a common occurrence.