China Heat Wave Causes Deaths, Ruins Crops

    August 1, 2013

A record-breaking heat wave has sent people across China running for their local pool and even caves as they try to escape the dangerously high temperatures. Temperatures well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit have plagued numerous cities for the past week. The heat has been blamed for dozens of human deaths, as well as numerous dead fish found in lakes, and severe damage to crops in the south and east of the country, where the heat wave has been the worst.

The highest temperature yet recorded has been in the city of Fenghua, in eastern China. Fenghua saw a high of 108.9 degrees Fahrenheit on July 24th. Other cities have suffered similar record highs. Shanghai’s temperature set a record with 105 degrees on July 26th. The city of Hangzhou also hit 108 degrees, and has seen temperatures top 104 for six of the past seven days. Temperatures in Shanghai were 95 degrees or higher for 25 total days in July.

Of course, any time there’s a heat wave here in America, you’re sure to hear someone say that it’s hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. Well, in China it seems that that might actually be the case. A picture circulating widely in Chinese media shows a young boy cooking shrimp and an egg on a manhole cover. It’s not the sidewalk, but it’s still pretty amazing:


The record-high temperatures have also reportedly resulted in eggs (the fertilized kind, not the ones you cook) hatching without the help of incubators. There have also been reports of glass cracking in the heat, cars catching fire, and even a billboard spontaneously combusting. Authorities believe the heat may have shorted out the billboard’s wiring, starting the fire.

According to Chinese media, the heat wave makes this China’s hottest summer in 140 years. The China Meteorological Association has declared a level 2 weather emergency, a level usually only applied to typhoons, floods, or similar weather phenomena. Authorities have even been attempting to seed clouds in some of the hardest hit areas, hoping to generate rain.

Unfortunately, the end of the scorching weather appears to be some time off yet. Chinese forecasters are predicting that the heat won’t end until the middle of August at the earliest.