Beijing and other cities were hit by severe flooding on Friday as a summer storm battered parts of China while a severe heatwave ravaged the interior, threatening to shrink the country’s largest freshwater lake.
China has been hit by wild weather events since April that have killed, damaged infrastructure and withered crops, raising doubts about its ability to deal with climate change.
Historically, China enters its peak rainy season in late July, but the extreme weather has made storms more intense and unpredictable, exposing heavily built-up megacities with poor or insufficient drainage to potentially deadly flooding.
In Beijing, authorities have deployed more than 2,600 people to preemptively empty dozens of pumping stations and clean thousands of drainage outlets along streets. Many bus routes plying in the suburbs and hilly areas were stopped.
Authorities in the neighboring city of Tianjin have also stepped up flood control efforts in the Hai Basin, a major northern drainage system. In contrast, low rainfall in Jiangxi province has caused Poyang Lake, the country’s largest freshwater lake, to reach its lowest level at this time of year since records began in 1951.
Poyang Lake, known as the Kidney of China due to its role in regulating the flow of the Yangtze River, typically increases in summer due to rain and retreats in winter. It had also shrunk unexpectedly due to drought last year.
The Central Meteorological Observatory on Friday issued a warning of heavy rain in eight provinces and autonomous regions until Saturday evening, according to state media.
According to CCTV reports, short-lived heavy rain may occur in some areas, with maximum rainfall of 30 to 60 millimeters (1.2 to 2.4 in) per hour, and more than 70 mm (2.76 in) in other places.
The government is taking additional steps to deal with possible flooding.
State radio reported Friday that at a cabinet meeting presided over by Premier Li Qiang, officials said all regions and relevant departments should put people’s lives first and pay full attention to flood prevention and drought control.
Meanwhile, temperatures of 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) and above remain a threat to other parts of China.
Northwest Xinjiang, where the temperature reached a record 52.2 degrees Celsius on Sunday, plunged into warmer-than-normal heat, while some areas in neighboring Gansu province faced intense heatwaves, while others warned of floods and landslides. Went.
Officials have repeatedly warned that China is vulnerable to the effects of climate change because of its large population and unevenly distributed water supply.
A waterfall collapsed at a high-speed railway station in the rain-drenched city of Wuxi, in Jiangsu province, according to social media clips.
About 150 cities are inundated every summer, despite efforts to improve drainage.
In July 2021, excessive rains in Zhengzhou city of Henan province resulted in the deaths of nearly 400 people, including 14 who drowned in a submerged subway line. The city received more rain in three days than it receives in a year.
The National Weather Bureau warned that up to 130 mm (5.12 inches) of heavy rain was expected in parts of Hebei, Beijing and Tianjin by Saturday morning.
On Friday morning, a section of an ancient city wall in Chongqing, southwestern China, collapsed after rain of up to 100.3 mm per hour the previous day.
On Friday afternoon, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau warned of heavy rainfall of more than 50 mm per hour in the city of 25 million people, as the rainfall intensified.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV Staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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