UPDATE 2-Chinese Xinjiang warns of further flooding, cotton crop risk amid heat waves

(Adds details of temperatures reaching 45.8C in Turpan, new record in Taizhou)

SHANGHAI, July 23 (Reuters) – China’s Xinjiang province on Saturday warned of more flash floods and landslides and risks to agriculture as heatwaves swept through the region, accelerating the pace of melting ice cream and posing risks to its cotton production.

China has been baked in above-normal summer heat since June, with some meteorologists blaming climate change. The excessively hot weather has increased the demand for electricity to cool homes, offices and factories. In agricultural regions, drought is a concern.

Xinjiang’s latest heat waves have been particularly long and widespread, Chen Chunyan, chief expert at the Xinjiang Meteorological Observatory, told state media.

She said the extreme weather in the south and east of the region, more than twice the size of France, had already lasted for about 10 days.

The Xinjiang Meteorological Bureau renewed its red alert for the region – the highest in a three-tier heat warning system – on Saturday, forecasting that temperatures in Kashgar, Hotan, Aksu and Bazhou could exceed 40 degrees Celsius ( 104 degrees Fahrenheit) over the next 24 hours.

“The continuous high temperature has accelerated the melting of glaciers in mountainous regions and caused natural disasters such as flash floods, landslides and landslides in many places,” Chen said.

The China Meteorological Administration said a day earlier that melting ice in Xinjiang posed a high risk of dam failure on a tributary of the Aksu River near the China-Kyrgyzstan border.

Mainly known for its deserts, Xinjiang is also home to long mountain ranges along its borders, including the Tian Shan Mountains, the Pamirs, the Kunlun Mountains and the Karakoram, which have become increasingly popular with tourists. Chinese amid COVID-19 restrictions on international travel. .

Temperatures in the oasis town of Turpan hit 45.8C as of 5 p.m. (0900 GMT).

Such heat waves could also impact crops, especially cotton, Chen said.

Xinjiang produces around 20% of the world’s cotton, a water-thirsty crop.

The latest series of extreme temperatures affected around 20 provinces. As of 5 p.m., 84 red alerts were in effect across China, mostly in Xinjiang and the manufacturing provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian.

Temperatures in the city of Taizhou, Zhejiang, hit an all-time high of 43C on Saturday.

“The hot sunny weather is expected to continue tomorrow (Sunday) and the day after tomorrow,” state media quoted the Taizhou Meteorological Bureau as saying. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom and Ryan Woo; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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