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Phew! City sizzles as mercury rises

SHANGHAI sweltered in the hottest day of the summer so far yesterday as temperatures climbed to 38.3 degrees Celsius. But with thunderstorms forecast for today there will be some relief, with the mercury falling to around 32 to 35 degrees, the city's weather bureau said. Yesterday morning, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau issued an orange heat alert, its second highest. The alert remained in place until temperatures started to drop in the evening. The highest temperature was recorded at the bureau's yardstick Xujiahui station, but temperatures recorded in other areas all exceeded 35 degrees, the bureau said. Though there was no rise in heat stroke cases in the city, doctors said, there was an increase, especially among children, of "heat diseases and air-condition diseases," such as eczema and diarrhea. The Shanghai Children's Medical Center said it took in about 10 to 20 percent more patients over the weekend than was usual. Most were suffering from fever or diarrhea due to long spells in air-conditioned rooms, according to doctors. Zhongshan Hospital said its emergency department received about the same number of patients as normal for a weekend, but there was an increase in the number suffering from fever. Power and water supplies were unaffected by the heat. Shanghai Electric Power Co Ltd said the city's daily peak power consumption hadn't reached 20,000 megawatts since late last month, a level within the city's capacity. Earlier, the electric company said it might have to limit power consumption in parts of the city if temperatures exceeded 37 degrees. Some stores and factories would be required to close to ensure supplies to residential areas. But that didn't apply yesterday with many industrial plants, the heaviest consumers, not in operation, officials said. City water authorities said they had ensured that supplies remained stable as temperatures rose. This week, thunderstorms are forecast over the next four days from today. Minimum temperatures could be around 26 to 29 degrees. But Zhu Jiehua! , one of the bureau's chief service officers, said: "The thunderstorms will not make people feel more comfortable because the high humidity and the high temperature will make the weather feel rather muggy."

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