China is bracing for scorching temperatures as local records shatter

Temperatures are hitting record highs in parts of north and central China this week while a severe drought in the east is also threatening crops, as countries across Asia brace themselves for another summer of extreme weather.

China is facing several days of scorching heat, with temperatures set to reach as high as 42 degrees Celsius (107.6F) in northern Hebei province on Wednesday, the state weather forecaster said.

The National Meteorological Centre (NMC) also warned late on Tuesday of the impact of soaring temperatures on energy supplies, crop production and people’s health.

China has experienced unusually warm weather for much of the year, with average temperatures from March to May at their highest since records began in 1961, according to official data.

More than 20 weather stations in northern Hebei and eastern Shandong provinces logged record high seasonal temperatures during the first ten days of June, NMC said earlier this week.

Northern India is also in the middle of a prolonged heat wave, with temperatures exceeding 50C in late May. The country has recorded nearly 25,000 heat stroke cases and 56 deaths since March, its national disease control centre said on June 1.

Record-breaking heat scorched large parts of Asia in April, killing hundreds of people, damaging crops and forcing schools to shut down. Scientists said the heat waves were made worse - and more likely - by human-caused climate change.

Soaring temperatures will continue to envelope northern China until June 20 where the mercury could reach or exceed historical highs in Hebei, Shanxi as well as central Henan province, NMC said.

In Mengyin County in Shandong, local authorities have had to resort to measures like creating artificial rain to combat an unusually severe drought this year, local media reported.

Meanwhile, neighbouring India is suffering from its longest heatwave with temperatures crossing 50C.