STORY: China's commercial capital of Shanghai was among dozens of cities baking in scorching temperatures on Tuesday (July 12).
Unusually hot weather buckled roads and drove people to seek the cool wherever they could.
By 11a.m. local time, 68 cities including Shanghai had issued red alerts, the highest in a three-tier warning system.
That level signifies forecast temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius - that's 104 F - in the next 24 hours.
Construction and other outdoor work are to be halted.
Shanghai, which is still fighting sporadic outbreaks of COVID-19, warned its population of 25 million to prepare for hot weather this week.
Since record-keeping began in 1873, it has only had 15 days of temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius.
China's summer of contrasts this year has brought havoc from heat waves to heavy rainfall in turn.
Authorities citing climate change have warned of potential disasters from mid-July, usually the hottest and wettest time of year.