With torrential rain and punishing heat, devastating weather has afflicted Japan for much of July.
Early in the month, more than 200 people died in its worst flood in decades, spurred by up to 70 inches of rain. Since then, dozens more have perished from an extended period of scorching heat, which has shattered records throughout the country.
Sayaka Mori, a meteorologist for the broadcasting service NHK World-Japan, tweeted that mercury climbed as high as 105.3 degrees (40.7 Celsius), the highest in five years and 0.5 degrees (0.3 Celsius) off the national record.
The city of Kyoto saw its temperature soar to 103.6 degrees (39.8 Celsius) Thursday, matching its highest temperature ever recorded (on August 8, 1994). To its south, Yamaguchi hit 101.7 degrees (38.7 Celsius), topping its previous highest temperature of 101.1 degrees (38.4 Celsius).
Friday’s conditions could be comparably hot, as temperatures may rise 20 degrees above average.
Excessively hot weather has persisted in Japan for days. On Wednesday, French meteorologist Etienne Kapikian, who closely monitors global weather extremes, tweeted that five locations had posted their highest recorded temperatures for any month of the year. A number of other locations set all-time (for any month) or July heat records in the days prior.
On Sunday, 200 of 927 weather stations in the country witnessed temperatures of at least 95 degrees (35 Celsius).
The heat is the result of a high-pressure area or heat dome parked over the region. It is forecast to remain more or less stationary for days and possibly strengthen in about a week. On Thursday, the Japan Meteorological Agency issued an extended forecast calling for an elevated likelihood of very high temperatures through the end of the month.
Local officials are warning people about dangers of heat stroke and advising precautions such as staying hydrated and adjusting room temperatures.
Japan joins many other locations in the Northern Hemisphere that have seen some of their hottest weather ever recorded. They include:
- In North America: Multiple locations in Southern California; Denver; Montreal; Mount Washington, N.H.; and Burlington, Vt.
- In Europe: Multiple locations in Norway, Finland and Sweden; Glasgow, Scotland; Shannon, Ireland; Belfast and Castlederg, Northern Ireland.
- In Eurasia: Multiple locations in central and east Russia; Tbilisi, Georgia; and Yerevan, Armenia.
- In the Middle East: Quriyat, Oman, which posted the world’s hottest low temperature ever recorded on June 28: 109 degrees (42.6 degrees Celsius).
- In Africa: Ouargla, Algeria, which may have posted the highest temperature in Algeria and the entire African continent on July 5: 124.3 degrees (51.3 degrees Celsius).
- In Asia: In addition to numerous locations in Japan, Taiwan may have posted its highest temperature on record.