Authorities have advised people to avoid outdoors as temperatures may remain high for the next 8-10 days.
China has issued a red alert for heat – the highest in its color-coded alert system – for the northern part of the country after Beijing recorded its hottest June day on record.
About 185 red alerts were issued for northern and eastern China, including Beijing, the nearby city of Tianjin, and Hebei and Shandong provinces on Friday morning.
It is the first time since 2014 that a red alert has been used in Beijing, home to about 22 million people, according to the official weather service.
Temperatures in the capital hovered around 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday after reaching a June record of 41.1C (106F).
The previous June high was from June 10, 1961, when the temperature was 40.6C (105F).
Residents of Beijing are used to sweltering summer heat but temperatures across China have been unusually high in recent months, with scientists saying climate change is fueling the heat.
“This weather is not human and it’s only June!” wrote one user on Chinese messaging platform Weibo, echoing numerous other posts.
On the streets of Beijing, pedestrians were seen wearing masks, hats and visors to protect themselves from the sun.
Along the city’s canals, some tried to escape the heat by splashing around in the water.
Temperatures reached 43C (109F) on Thursday in Shandong, a coastal province bordering the Yellow Sea, according to the China Meteorological Service.
Local media reported that 17 weather stations around the region broke temperature records.
The China Meteorological Administration said on Thursday that it expects high temperatures to persist across much of the country’s north for the next eight to 10 days.
Local authorities warned on Friday that extended periods of high temperatures could be a health hazard and advised people to limit their time outdoors and drink at least 1.5 liters of water per day.