Tokyo [Japan], August 11 (ANI): Japan on Tuesday continued to reel under soaring high temperatures as the mercury climbed to above 40 degrees Celsius in some areas, forcing authorities to issue a heatstroke alert and advising people to remove their face masks in certain situations.
Temperatures in the cities of Isesaki and Kiryu in Gunma Prefecture soared to 40.5 degrees Celsius, the highest reading so far this year while the mercury hit 40.2 degrees Celsius in Hatoyama town in Saitama Prefecture. Municipalities in Gunma, Tochigi, Toyama, Saitama, Fukushima, Tokyo and Ibaraki saw temperatures hovering between 38 to 39 degrees Celsius, Japan Times reported.
The mercury rose above 30 degrees Celsius even in cities of Sapporo and Asahikawa in Hokkaido, which is generally cooler than the main island of Honshu. Naha in Okinawa Prefecture recorded 33 degrees Celsius in the day time.
In the capital, Tokyo, mercury started increasing in the morning itself and had reached 30 degrees Celsius by 7 am and 36 degrees Celsius at around noon.
A special heatstroke warning was issued for six prefectures in Kanto region and in Yamanashi Prefecture, urging the people, especially the elderly, to avoid venturing out and remain indoors. A lower-level heatwave advisory was issued in several parts of the country from Hokkaido to Okinawa.
Meteorologists said the combination of a strong high-pressure system and hot and dry winds blowing down from a mountain, known as a foehn, was the reason for the blistering heat across the country today.
The risk of heatstroke is high this summer as people are wearing face masks outdoors to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Health authorities have advised people to remove their face mask to prevent getting a heatstroke, warning that masks trap heat on the skin's surface and lead to dehydration, according to Japan Times.
The ministry has also asked people to use air conditioning and drink fluids even if they are not feeling thirsty.
There is a forecast of thunderstorms in Tokyo on Wednesday but the sweltering weather is expected to last through this week in western, central and eastern parts of Japan, according to the country's weather agency. (ANI)