(Beijing) A high heat alert is in effect on Tuesday in China over a large northern part of the country, including the capital Beijing where temperatures locally exceeded 40°C.

High temperatures in China are not unusual as summer approaches, particularly in the country’s arid west and south.  

In the north, residents of Beijing are also accustomed to the heat at this time of year.  

But the country has faced extreme weather conditions and locally unusual temperatures in recent months, exacerbated by climate change according to scientists.

In Beijing, an orange alert for high heat was issued until Thursday. This is the second highest level of Chinese meteorological services.

According to local media, the highest temperature recorded on Tuesday in the Chinese capital was 40.3°C, in the large western suburbs 50 kilometers from the city center.

Last year, Beijing broke an absolute heat record in June with 41.1°C, its hottest day for this month since weather records began in 1961. The city was then placed on red alert.

On Tuesday, some residents walked the streets with a pocket fan, while others favored umbrellas and face masks to protect themselves from the sun’s rays.

The current severe heat is expected to persist until Friday in northern and eastern China, weather services have warned.  

The port metropolis of Tianjin, close to Beijing, as well as the provinces of Hebei and Shandong are particularly affected.

In these provinces, around twenty weather stations recorded temperature records for the beginning of June, reported national radio CNR.

In Shandong, a red alert is in effect for temperatures which could locally reach 42°C, the meteorological services have warned.

In Hebei, bordering Beijing, the mercury reached 42.9°C on Tuesday afternoon.

At the other end of the country, heavy rainfall is expected in southern China, particularly in the mountainous region of Guizhou and in Yunnan, bordering Burma and Laos.  

Up to 70 millimeters of rain are expected there.

China is not the only country affected by severe heat. Last month in India, a record was broken with 52.3°C recorded in New Delhi.

May 2024 was the hottest month on record worldwide, according to the European Copernicus Observatory.