China has issued its highest-level heat alert for the northern parts of the country as capital baked in temperatures hovering around 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).
Last week, Beijing also recorded its highest temperature for mid-June, with weather officials warning the public to stay indoors as the mercury hit 39.4 C.
The city is accustomed to sweltering summers but temperatures across China have been unusually high in recent months, with scientists saying the heat is being exacerbated by climate change.
As of Friday morning, 185 red alerts were issued across swathes of norther n and eastern China including Beijing, the nearby city of Tianjin and the bordering provinces of Hebei and Shandong.
The red warning is the highest in a four-tier system.
It is the first time since 2014 that the red alert has been used in Beijing, according to government weather services.
Many neighbouring areas had already been on a red alert by Thursday.
"This weather is not human and it is only the month of June!" wrote one user on the online 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 sought an escape from the heat by splashing around in the water.
"It never used to get this hot in June before, but now it's so hot my hands are trembling," another user on Weibo wrote.
"Are there three suns blazing over Beijing right now? It's hot enough to cause a breakdown," wrote another.
The scorching heat has coincided with the Dragon Boat Festival, a time when many Chinese go outside and socialise.
With temperatures in the high 30s forecast throughout the three-day public holiday, authorities have urged people to limit their time outdoors.
In the coastal province of Shandong, which borders the Yellow Sea, the temperature reached 43C on Thursday, according to China's meteorological service.
Local media reported that 17 weather stations around the region broke temperature records.
The severe heat is expected to persist in northern and eastern parts for at least eight days, forecasters warned.