BEIJING, July 5 (Xinhua) -- A searing heat wave continued to scorch many parts of China Monday with Beijing recording the highest temperature in the first 10 days of July in 50 years.
With temperatures over 35 degrees Celsius, at least 16 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities are sweltering in summer heat, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) said when issuing a level yellow heat alert.
The heatwave is affecting large parts of southern China, eastern Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces, northwestern Gansu Province, and north China's Beijing, Tianjin, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Shanxi Province, the NMC said in a bulletin on its website.
Temperatures might hit 40 degrees Celsius in some areas, it added.
Indeed the Chinese capital reported an average temperature of 40.3 degrees Celsius at 4 p.m. In the downtown area, the temperature was as high as 42.9 degrees Celsius.
Some tourists in Beijing even chose to tour the air-conditioned shopping malls. "I won't go out until sunset," said a tourist from eastern Shandong province.
Thunderstorms forecast on Wednesday and Thursday are expected to cool the city for a while.
Authorities in Tianjin, 120 km southeast of Beijing, have issued an orange alert, the highest level only after the red alert, as temperature was 38.8 degrees Celsius at 3 p.m.
Sales of cold drinks at a Carrefour supermarket in Tianjin were 70 percent higher than earlier cooler summer days, a manager said.
Electricity demand in Tianjin reached an all time high of 9.34 million kw. It could exceed 10 million kw during this summer due to heavy usage of air conditioning, according to the Tianjin Electric Power Company.
Electricity demand in the southern city of Guangzhou hit 10.8 million kw, a record high and 10 percent higher than a year ago. The hot weather would lead to tight power supply for July, according to the Guangzhou Electric Power Company.
Power consumption in six provinces and cities including Hubei, Sichuan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Henan and Chongqing hit a record high of 2.06 billion kwh on Sunday, said Central China Grid Co.
In Hohhot, capital city of Inner Mongolia, electric fans and air conditioners are selling out quickly.
"Medium- and low-priced air conditioners are all sold out," said a salesperson for Haier, a major Chinese electrical appliance brand.