South and North China will continue experiencing unusually high temperatures until Wednesday, with a slim chance of rain in most parts, the national weather forecaster said on Sunday.
Hot weather has persisted since June 30 in most of South China, where temperatures have often exceeded 35 C. The National Meteorological Center (NMC) expanded its yellow alert for high temperatures to include North China on Sunday, the NMC said on its website.
Highs in Beijing, Hebei, Chongqing, southern Zhejiang and central Jiangxi reached 37 C to 39 C on Saturday, it said.
Sunday's temperatures in most southern regions as well as in Beijing, Hebei, Henan, Shandong and Anhui were expected to reach 35 C to 39 C, with some reaching 40 C, chief forecaster Sun Jun said.
Hebei's provincial capital Shijiazhuang issued a top alert for hot weather on Sunday, while Chongqing, Fujian, Zhejiang, Hubei, Shanxi and Guangxi issued orange (second-level) weather alerts, the NMC said.
Changsha resident Wang Yan awoke late on Sunday morning to discover her water heater was broken, meaning she would have to take a cold shower.
"It turned out there was nothing to worry about," she said. "When I turned it on, the water was lukewarm. And I realized it's not bad to take a cold shower in this weather."
Emergency treatments surged by more than 30 percent at the children's hospital in Guangzhou, when temperatures reached 36 C over the weekend.
The city also opened 488 temporary shelters for local residents to escape the heat.
"It is too hot to stay at home," said a 70-year-old woman surnamed Su from a shelter on Guangzhou's Beijing Street.
"And I don't want to use too much electricity running the air conditioner just for myself. So I came here right after lunch. I can kill time here with old friends, watching TV and enjoying the air conditioning."
More than 20 people have been visiting the shelter daily, the shelter's head said.
Grid operators have this month faced tremendous pressure to meet soaring power demands, as consumers crank up their air conditioners.
Hebei's provincial development and reform commission estimated the power demand would grow 16 percent year on year during summer's hottest point, Hebei Daily reported in June.
Anhui will face a power shortage of 1 million kilowatts if the temperature remains unusually high, Anhui Business reported in June.
An emergency power-supply plan has been prepared for the coming days. About 6,000 companies in Anhui will suspend operations or limit their power usage during peak periods.
Highs of 38 C kept Fujian residents indoors over the weekend, as torrential rains had done two weeks ago.
"We can only bear it in the evening. In the daytime, I'd rather stay in my air-conditioned room playing with ice cubes," 22-year-old Fuzhou resident Zheng Yanyan said.
"I hope there will be another rainstorm to cool us off.
Fujian's trade union has urged employers to pay an additional 5 to 8 yuan per day to those who work in environments where temperatures exceed 33 C. Local meteorological departments also suggested residents avoid going outside between 11 am and 3 pm.
At least four students were reported to have drowned in local lakes while swimming to escape the hot weather.