BEIJING — Sizzling temperatures, coupled with strong convection storms, are set to blanket southern China in coming days, with the persistently hot weather driving up demand for electricity and putting power grids under severe stress.
In the next three days, most of southern China is expected to be hit by temperatures of more than 35 degrees Celsius, with temperatures in some local areas even exceeding 40 deg C, according to national forecasters on Friday (June 2).
Like many parts of Asia, China has been besieged by extreme hot weather in recent weeks ahead of summer proper in the northern hemisphere.
On Monday, Shanghai endured its hottest day in May in more than 100 years. Provinces in the south sweltered in blistering heat, testing power grids as demand for air-conditioning spiked among home, commercial and industrial users.
The power load in key manufacturing hubs in the south including Guangdong has risen to historical highs in recent days, with China Southern Power Grid, one of the country's two grid operators, seeing output hitting 222 million kilowatts, approaching historical highs.
In the provincial capital of Guangzhou, the power load climbed to 21 million kW on May 30, up by more than 20 per cent from a year earlier.
In recent days, the power load in Hainan poked above seven million kW for the first time, while that in Guangxi renewed record highs not once, but twice, according to state media reports, with further rises expected in other southern provinces including Yunnan and Guizhou in coming days.
In the summer of 2022, extreme heat in China pushed authorities to ration power use. Hydropower output, key in giant provinces such as Sichuan, was also hit due to prolonged drought-like conditions.
Powerful convection weather has also wreaked havoc in central China in recent weeks, with protracted downpours and even hail devastating the country's ongoing wheat harvest.
In Henan province, known as the granary of China, moderate to heavy rains are expected to continue till at least June 4.