Japan Swelters In Record Heat Wave|
Posted: 8/16/2007 2:16 PM
By Hiroko Tabuchi, Associated Press
TOKYO — Japan sizzled through its hottest day on
record Thursday, as a heat wave reportedly claimed at least 13 lives
across the country and spurred fears of an electricity shortage.The mercury hit 105.6 degrees Fahrenheit in the
western city of Tajimi and also the central city of Kumagaya on Thursday
afternoon, breaking a previous national record of set in 1933, according
to the Meteorological Agency.
Temperatures also soared to new highs in parts of
Tokyo and across the country, spurring vacationers to take cover indoors
at the height of the "bon" summer holidays.
The Hachioji region of Tokyo hit 101.6 degrees
Fahrenheit, breaking the previous record of for August.
The average high temperature in central Tokyo for the
month of August is 87.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Many parts of Japan have been
hit by the heat wave since last week.
Ten people died across Japan on Thursday from
heatstroke, including eight elderly people, public broadcaster NHK said. A
13-year-old boy who collapsed in Tokyo after basketball practice two days
ago also died Thursday, NHK said, adding that 886 people were taken to
hospitals across the nation from heatstroke. Three others died from
heatstroke Wednesday, Kyodo News agency said.
Tokyo Electrical Power Co. warned of a power shortage
as people turned up their air conditioners. The company has been firing up
old thermal power stations and buying electricity from rivals after a
strong earthquake ravaged its largest nuclear power reactor, reducing its
electricity output by more than 10%.
Elsewhere, rail tracks were bent out of shape in the
sun, and authorities struggled to deal with fire alarms set off
erroneously by rising temperatures, according to news reports.
The heat also got the best of sumo wrestler
Takamisakari, who smashed into his practice room window as he nearly
collapsed following practice on Thursday, reports said.
But scorching temperatures were expected to boost
sales of beer and other beverages, as well as electric appliances like air
conditioners and fans, as consumers scrambled to keep cool.
The heat wave could lift drink sales as much as
$491.6 million and electric products by US$1.2 billion, according to a
Daiichi-Life Research Institute study quoted in the Fuji Sankei Business
"I'm sure this weather is great for beer-lovers,
though I don't drink myself," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is known to
prefer popsicles to alcohol, told reporters late Thursday.
Original article: USA Today - Weather
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