Some Chinese cities break October heat records as others shiver

By Kathleen Magramo, CNN

China is facing extreme weather conditions as scorching heat breaks records in some drought-stricken parts of the country, while cool weather sweeps through other regions as the climate crisis makes conditions more unstable.

In the south, dozens of drought alerts have been issued for cities and counties in Jiangxi province, warning that crops could suffer from the worst drought conditions in 50 years.

Further north, the city of Qingyang in Gansu province reached 40.9 degrees Celsius (105 Fahrenheit) on Monday, breaking the national heat record for October, at a time when average temperatures are usually around 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit), according to the Ogimet weather service.

The southern provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi and Fujian also set a new heat record for October.

“It’s really abnormal, no one experienced this kind of record high temperatures in October,” said Fang Keyan, a climatologist at Fujian Normal University.

Fang said seasonal weather transitions were becoming more complicated to estimate as atmospheric circulations were disrupted by rising global temperatures amid the climate crisis.

While parts of the country are sweltering, some areas could see early snowfall this year.

The National Meteorological Center (NMC) issued its first nationwide cold snap warning on Sunday, with cold air sweeping across northern and central parts of the country. It was lifted three days later by the Chinese Meteorological Observatory.

Cold air has chilled parts of northern China, with national weather agencies warning that temperatures could hover around 12 degrees Celsius (53 Fahrenheit) in central parts of the country.

According to the NMC’s forecast, moderate snow and sleet are expected to fall in the northern regions of Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang in the coming days.

Fang said the dramatic nationwide temperature swings are particularly bad for agriculture, as crops cannot withstand the prolonged hot and dry summer, while a sudden cold spell also slows growth. plant metabolism.

“This is sure to reduce crop production and will be very bad for the ecosystem because forests in the subtropics generally have peak growth in summer and autumn,” he said.

A season of extremes

China has suffered a summer of extreme weather this year, with hundreds of thousands hit by the heaviest rainfall in 60 years, followed by a devastating heatwave that dried up rivers and killed thousands of cattle.

Torrential rains hit the south of the country from April to June, causing heavy flooding and landslides, which were followed by a heat wave that spread through central and southern China from mid-June to end of August.

The extreme heat sparked an electricity crisis, prompting authorities to dim office lighting, close factories and cut power to homes, forcing air conditioners to be turned off.

The persistent heat wave that lasted until October was caused by a subtropical anticyclone, according to the NMC, with temperatures in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River already breaking records.

“Before the cold air reaches southern China, more places in this region will continue to suffocate in prolonged heat, with the highest temperatures likely to continue to rise and perhaps beat more than records,” Zhang Tao, an NMC meteorologist, said at a press conference on Saturday. .

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CNN’s Shawn Deng and Mengchen Zhang contributed to this report.