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China’s Blistering Heat Strains Power Grids and Disrupts Farming

  • Officials are confident that widespread outages can be avoided
  • Coal inventories dwindle for industrial centers on the coast
A woman shields from the sun in Beijing’s central business district.

A woman shields from the sun in Beijing’s central business district.

Photographer: Mark Schiefelbein/AP Photo

Updated on

Scorching temperatures across China are straining power grids as the country tries to ramp up industrial activity to support the economy, while farmers scramble to save crops such as rice and cotton from the impact of the searing heat.

Several regions have already posted record power demand and have cut electricity to factories at peak hours to make sure there’s enough to keep air conditioners running. Rice crops and fruit and vegetables in southern China are at risk of being damaged by the heat, and melting glaciers are causing floods in the cotton-growing regions of Xinjiang.