URUMQI, July 30 (Xinhua) -- More than 2,000 astronomy fans who have traveled to northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region for the best view of Friday's solar eclipse will have to deal with the summer's most intense heat, according to the local weather forecast.
A heat wave was forecast to sweep Xinjiang from Thursday and linger another four days, with average daily highs exceeding 40 degrees Celsius, said the regional observatory.
Chief weatherman Bai Huixing issued a heat alert on Wednesday, pointing to the Turpan Basin as the hottest place in the next few days, where daily highs would reach 45 degrees Celsius.
He said that the heat wave would cause a massive snow melt in the mountains, which might cause floods in the Aksu and Bayingolin prefectures.
He added that the heat could also trigger pest outbreaks in the cotton-growing area of Xinjiang, which has become China's leading cotton producer.
According to the regional tourist authorities, more than 2,500 foreign nationals, mainly from Europe, Japan, Australia and the United States, have arrived in Hami Prefecture, east of Xinjiang, to see the spectacle, which will be visible from 6:09 p.m. to 8:05 p.m. there on Friday.