The mercury in Taipei hit 39.3°C yesterday afternoon, the highest temperature recorded in the city by the Central Weather Bureau since records began 117 years ago.
The city’s observation station has been in the plaza in front of the bureau’s headquarters on Gongyuan Road since 1896.
Data from the bureau showed that the city’s previous record high temperature was set on Aug. 9, 2003, when the temperature reached 38.8°C.
The bureau said the temperature rose to 38.8°C at 1:16pm yesterday, which tied the record set in 2003. It went up further to 38.9°C at 1:44pm, setting a new record, but that did not last long, as the temperature reached 39.3°C at 1:58pm.
Aside from being the highest temperature recorded in the city, the temperature yesterday was also the seventh-highest temperature recorded in the nation in 117 years.
Data from the bureau also showed that most of the historic high temperatures in Taipei have occurred in the past 10 years.
The nation’s highest temperature was recorded in Taitung City on May 9, 2004, when the mercury hit 40.2°C.
The high temperature in Taitung was caused by a foehn wind, the bureau said.
The second-highest temperature of 39.9°C was recorded in Taichung City on July 1, 2004. That was followed by 39.7°C recorded in Taitung City on May 7, 1988, and 39.5°C in Taitung City on June 7, 1942.
Cheng Ming-dean (鄭明典), director of the bureau’s weather forecast center, said the high temperature in Taipei was caused by a wind from the south and the fact that the capital lies in a basin.
He said it is rare for Taiwan to experience extreme weather conditions because of the mutual influence of winds from inland and from the sea. Taipei was the nation’s only city that experienced such an extremely high temperature yesterday, he said.
The bureau said that the weather may cool tomorrow when a high-pressure system in the Pacific is expected to start moving north. A wet weather system from the south could move north close to Taiwan, which would increase the chances of afternoon thundershowers on the west coast, it said.
From Monday to Wednesday, winds from the southeast are expected to increase the chances of rain in the southeast, east and the north, the bureau said.
As the temperature rose in Taipei yesterday, the Taipei City Government’s Department of Labor launched inspections at construction sites and other outdoor workplaces to prevent workers from getting heat stroke.
The department instructed employers and construction site managers to allow workers to take a 30-minute break after working for four hours when the temperature rises to or above 36°C.
Employers should also provide rest areas with shade and cease work at noon among other measures to prevent heat stroke, the department said.
Department of Labor Chief Secretary Wu Meng-lin (吳夢麟) said the department conducts regular inspections during summer to assure the safety of workers outdoors.
Meanwhile, the Taipei City Government’s Department of Environmental Protection dispatched 12 street sweepers to spray water on streets to cool the temperature in the city, while also keeping the streets clean.
Department of Environmental Protection Division Chief Chiu Kuo-shu (邱國書) said the temperature of asphalt roads can rise as high as 54°C in summer and spraying water on the road can cool the temperature of the asphalt to about 49°C.