August 18, 2006

Japan heat wave to continue in many areas next week

TOKYO (Reuters) - The current heat wave will continue in many areas of Japan for at least another week from Saturday, and then start cooling down, the official forecaster said on Friday.

The Japan Meteorological Agency forecast that all regions will have hot weather next week similar to this week, with temperatures rising above 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit).

Temperatures will then ease in line with the seasonal average for August recorded from 1971 to 2000.

The weather has been warmer than normal in most areas of Japan recently. In particular, the northernmost main island of Hokkaido has seen average temperatures in the past two weeks 2.9 degrees higher than the normal 22 degrees Celsius for August, boosting daily peak electricity demand to record levels in the area.

Temperatures in Hokkaido have risen to almost 33 Celsius (91.4 F), almost matching temperatures in the southernmost main island of Kyushu.

Kyushu's local daily electricity demand has also hit record levels this month, with temperatures rising as high as 35 Celsius (95 F). The average temperature in the past week was 2 degrees higher than the area's average of 27.6 Celsius for August.

The average temperatures in the capital Tokyo, in eastern Japan, was 0.6 degrees higher than the area's normal at 27.1 Celsius (80.8 F) in the past week.