Shanghai issues temperature red alert

China’s most populous city, Shanghai, has issued its highest alert for extreme heat as soaring temperatures once tested records this week.

The commercial and industrial hub of 25 million people declared a red alert on Thursday (14 July), warning of expected temperatures of at least 40 degrees C (104 F). The highest of a three-tier colour-coded warning system, it requires construction and other outdoor work to be reduced or halted.

In an indication of the scale of the climate problem, Shanghai has issued three red alerts in the past week.

The extreme weather has coincided with mass testing for COVID-19 in several districts amid minor outbreaks, adding to heat woes for both residents and health workers wearing protective suits.

Half of China has been affected by the unusually hot spell during the past month. The Yangtze River basin – encompassing megacities from Shanghai to Chongqing in the heartland – has suffered heat waves over the past week.

With higher demand for air-conditioning, the load on the power grids of seven provinces and regions has reached a record high, according to state media.

China’s maximum power load hit an all-time high of 1.22 billion kilowatts on Tuesday, the National Development and Reform Commission said on Thursday.

The state planner said it was making every effort to ensure energy supply during the summer peak demand period.