Weather tracker: no relief as heatwaves continue in parts of Europe and China

Weather tracker: no relief as heatwaves continue in parts of Europe and China

Meanwhile heavy rainfall predicted to far exceed annual averages in South and North Korea

A woman wearing a face mask uses a fan as she walks on a street in Shanghai, China, as a severe heatwave continues to affect parts of the country.

While it feels as though Europe should be starting to see the end of its heatwaves, scorching temperatures are expected to continue across the north and west of the continent this week. As high pressure becomes established, parts of France and Spain could experience temperatures of 38C (100.4F) between Wednesday and Saturday. A prolonged hot period is also forecast to hit the UK with temperatures exceeding 30C, and maximum temperatures possibly hitting as high as 35C.

Meanwhile, low pressure and a slack south-westerly wind across the East China and Yellow seas will bring heavy rain across the Korean peninsula over the coming week, the second monsoon spell of the season. Daily rainfall totals of 100mm to 150mm could hit South Korea’s capital, Seoul, on Monday, with high levels of precipitation extending north-eastwards across northern Chungcheong and North Gyeonsang provinces.

And there is no relief further into the week with 120mm to 150mm of rainfall expected on Tuesday and between 60mm and 80mm on Wednesday and Thursday. Overall, parts of northern South Korea could have cumulative totals between Monday and Thursday in excess of 350mm to 400mm.

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High rainfall totals are not unusual at this time of year owing to the east Asian monsoon, whereby warm and moist air interacts with drier and cooler air to the north. Where these two air masses meet, these systems bring most of the rain across the Korean peninsula. However, the average rainfall for a typical August in South Korea is about 250mm, which would mean that more than 150% of the monthly average rainfall would fall in the space of four days. Meanwhile, southern parts of North Korea are also expected to experience more than 300mm of rain between Monday and Wednesday.

Another extreme weather scenario has been playing out across eastern China this summer, with 900 million people affected by the third strongest regional heatwave since 1963, second only to 2013 and 2017. Unfortunately, there is not expected to be any letup with this heat through August, with temperatures in provinces such as Shaanxi, Henan and Hubei frequently exceeding 40C this week. This is about 10C above the climatological average.