People cool off at a water park in China; many places in that country have reported temperatures above 104 degrees. ( AFP/Getty Images )

August has been cooler than usual in the Washington area, but in China, summer swelter has caused some unusual happenings.

It has been so hot that people are grilling shrimp on manhole covers, eggs are hatching without incubators and a highway billboard mysteriously caught fire by itself.

The heat wave — the worst in at least 140 years in some parts of China — has pushed thermometers above 104 degrees in 40 cities and counties. Authorities for the first time have declared the heat a “level 2” weather emergency — a label normally used for typhoons and flooding.

“It is just hot! Like in a food steamer!” 17-year-old student Xu Sichen said outside a shopping mall in Shanghai.

He Jiali, also 17, was concerned about the heat’s effects on her phone.

“I’m so worried that the phone will explode while I’m using it,” He said.

The city set a record high temperature of 105 degrees July 26.

— Associated Press