China is facing a 40C (104F) heatwave, with some provinces already on high alert and authorities warning of melting ice, landslides and wildfires .

After above-average temperatures in June and early July, Saturday is the “hottest” day in the Chinese lunar calendar.

The Ministry of Emergency Management said the sharp increase in demand for air conditioning in homes, offices and factories could pose risks to the national power grid.

Leo Zhang, president of chemical maker Sika China, said on Friday: “For all factories in China and Shanghai, we have regulations that must be followed,” after government officials warned of “tests severe”.

In rural areas, such as Xinjiang, on the border with Kyrgyzstan, drought could ruin crops.

Xinjiang, home to China’s Uighur population, is also where 20% of the world’s cotton is produced.

Elsewhere in the province, potential glacial melt could lead to dam failure.

“The continuous high temperature has accelerated the melting of glaciers in mountainous areas and caused natural disasters such as flash floods, landslides and landslides in many places,” said Chen Chunyan, chief expert at the Xinjiang Meteorological Observatory, to the official media.

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Blocks of ice delivered to a COVID test site in Shanghai

20 provinces on high alert

Some 20 of China’s 31 provinces have been told to prepare for extreme temperatures, with coastal areas and Shanghai worst hit, according to the National Meteorological Center. Experts mainly blame climate change.

Chongqing city and parts of Hunan, Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangxi are also prone to wildfires.

Shanghai
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Shanghai

Maximum temperatures in China are largely unverified, with local media reporting 50.3C (122.5F) at a weather station near Ayding, Xinjiang in 2015.

In July, officials in Shanghai said temperatures of 40.9C (105.6F) were the highest on record, first reached in 2017.

Temperatures in some areas could reach 50C (122F) by next week, the weather administration said Friday.

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