A thermometer shows an outdoor temperature over 40 C at the Forbidden City in Beijing on Thursday. Beijing's temperature exceeded 40 C for two consecutive days on Wednesday and Thursday, the first time in history that it occurred in July. (Photo by Zhu Xingxin/China Daily)
Beijing's ongoing high temperatures led to a red weather warning on Thursday, the second time for the highest-level alert since June — and the public is trying various ways to keep cool.
The Beijing Meteorological Observatory said maximum temperatures would exceed 40 C, the first time the city has recorded two successive days with temperatures above 40 C in July.
Beijing has had 18 days with temperatures above 35 C since June, a record since meteorological records in the city began in 1951.
But the heat hasn't lowered travelers' enthusiasm, as at 9 am Thursday there were still hundreds of visitors touring Tian'anmen Square.
However, the municipal tourism authority suggests tour guides and tourists adjust travel routes with adequate drinks and sun-care products.
"We used to pay a tour guide 600 yuan ($85) for one day in Beijing, yet now it's hard to find one these days due to the hot weather even if I raised the pay to 1,600 yuan," a travel agency told local newspaper Beijing Business Thursday.
Museums where air-conditioning is provided have become attractive. Tickets for the National Museum of China, the China Science and Technology Museum and the Military Museum of China sold out as soon as they were available recently.
Visitors are jokingly saying that the subways are the coolest place these days.
Zhang Fan, a 28-year-old designer who usually drives to work, turned to taking the subway because of the heat.
"I feel burned even with the air-conditioning on in my car," he said. "So, I prefer the underground subway even though it's crowded."
Animal breeders at Beijing Wildlife Park are also trying to relieve animals from the heat. Air-conditioners have been left on 24 hours a day indoors, maintaining temperatures around 26 to 28 C. Pools are prepared and breeders give animals showers with cool water.
Other provinces in northern China are experiencing heat waves too. Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province, as well as the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region had record-high temperatures in June. According to the weather forecast, rainfall and cool air on Saturday will ease the heat waves.
Authorities should ensure good care of senior, young and disabled people, Tao Xidong, a researcher at Shanghai Academy of Social Science, told a local newspaper on Tuesday.
"Authorities can encourage supermarkets, shopping malls, sports stadiums and museums with air-conditioning to allow the old, young and delivery persons to enjoy their space during the off-peak periods, which can help them out during the heat," he said.