China hit by rare convergence of rainfall, heat waves and tornado


BEIJING, June 17 (Reuters) – China was hit this week by a rare convergence of record rainfall, heatwaves and a tornado in the southern megacity of Guangzhou, displacing millions of people, damaging property and flooding farmland, with more storms and floods on the way.

Southern China is expected to experience torrential rains through Tuesday, state media reported on Friday, with no immediate relief for the region that was inundated by downpours last week.

At least seven southern provinces and regions have issued severe storm and flood warnings for the next 24 hours.

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Authorities had issued warnings of “extreme weather events” as early as April, ahead of the rainy season that signals the seasonal transition from spring to summer in June.

China is historically prone to flooding, causing landslides and inundating many hectares of farmland.

In recent times, the country has become even more vulnerable, due to deforestation, the reclamation of wetlands and the storage of water for electricity generation and irrigation.

China also blames climate change for the increase in extreme weather events.

On Friday, the aviation regulator warned airlines against flying in extreme weather conditions, with severe convection storms expected over the summer.

“Weather conditions in China will tend to be unfavorable this summer,” a regulator official said at a news conference on Friday.

A tornado ripped through parts of Guangzhou in a heavy rainstorm late Thursday, local media reported, knocking out power to more than 5,400 users in the sprawling southern city, capital of Guangdong province. .

Guangzhou media reported dangerous water levels with high waves in the wider Pearl River Basin, prompting the central government to dispatch flood prevention officers.

Since May, rainfall in the Pearl River basin – a vast river system encompassing Guangdong and parts of Guangxi, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guizhou and Yunnan – has reached its highest level since 1961, according to the state media on Friday, citing China’s National Climate Center.

In Fujian province, north of the basin, authorities have warned that recent record rainfall will persist into next week, posing a high risk of natural disasters.

Meanwhile, temperatures in central and northern China are expected to hit unusual highs next week, topping 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

Abnormally hot weather has already enveloped Henan’s capital, Zhengzhou, which was hit by record rainfall and crippled by devastating floods last summer.

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Reporting by Ryan Woo in Beijing and Beijing Newsroom; Writing and additional reporting by Liz Lee in Kuala Lumpur and Stella Qiu in Beijing; Editing by Michael Perry and Kim Coghill

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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