A preview of these troubles is now taking place in southern China, Japan and South Korea as a high-pressure area stagnates over the region. Over the past several weeks, temperature records have been broken in each of these countries, and earlier this week, blackouts seemed likely as the South Korean government enforced energy-saving measures across the country (ClimateWire, Aug. 13)
China's National Meteorological Center (NMC) continued an "orange alert" for the heat wave Tuesday, the 20th straight day the alert was in place, the nation's official press agency reported.
Although blackouts were avoided in South Korea, 875 people have so far been hospitalized for heat-related illnesses this year, the Chosun Ilbo reported Tuesday, and up to 13 people have died. Also because of the heat, the newspaper said, many South Korean schools have extended their summer vacation period.
The Japan Meteorological Agency predicts that the heat wave will continue into next week. On Tuesday, the agency issued a report stating that 106 of the country's observation stations had logged record-high temperatures. Sunday marked the first time Tokyo's temperatures remained more than 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) for the entire day since observations began in 1987, the report said.
According to Yano Katsunori, second secretary of the environment at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C., almost 10,000 people were taken via ambulance to the hospital over the course of last week, and 17 people died.
For Takashi Kisaka, 36, who works for a local forestry cooperative in southern Japan's Kagoshima prefecture, high temperatures have forced him and his co-workers to start work early in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat.
"We can't work around noon because it's very hot, so we start work at 5 am," Kisaka said in an email. "Everybody [is] saying this year is unusual."
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500