Heavy rain to soak more than half of China amid sweltering summer temperatures

The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River discharging water on July 15, 2018, to lower the water level in the reservoir, following heavy rain and floods across the country.
The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River discharging water on July 15, 2018, to lower the water level in the reservoir, following heavy rain and floods across the country. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - While some residents living along China's Yangtze River will be inundated by heavy downpour in the next few days, others along the same river will suffer from sweltering heat.

The upper reaches of the Yangtze River basin will continue to be plagued by heavy rain over the coming three days, but people along the middle and lower reaches of the river will face scorching temperatures of more than 35 deg C, according to weather forecasters.

Since the flood season began on May 1, precipitation in Sichuan, in the upper reaches of Yangtze, has been 40 per cent above average, said local flood control authorities. And the flood control situation in the province remains grim.

Rainstorms in the Sichuan cities of Guangyuan and Mianyang dumped up to 257mm of water on Saturday (July 14), according to the National Meteorological Centre, and the rain will continue in the province until at least Wednesday. Some areas of neighbouring Gansu province have also had rain.

Only a small area of China had rain on Sunday, but it will expand to more than half the country from Monday to Wednesday, with Sichuan to be among the most severely hit.

In the 24 hours beginning at 8am on Sunday, some parts of the province in the western Sichuan Basin are expected to receive up to 200mm of rain. Precipitation in the province will decrease in the following 24 hours, but some areas can still expect up to 130mm, according to the centre.

The continuous rain has flooded parts of the Yangtze and some of its major tributaries. On Saturday, almost 100,000 people were temporarily evacuated when flooding reached its peak in Chongqing, along the upper reaches of the river.

The Jialing River exceeded its warning level by 5.92m, and the Yangtze River by 3.78m, as the flood peaked in the city, local flood control authorities said. Chongqing has coordinated with multiple dams, including the Three Georges, to discharge flood water.

Torrential rain in Sichuan and Gansu forced the evacuation of almost 130,000 people and resulted in direct economic losses of nearly 3.9 billion yuan (S$796 million) as of 10am last Thursday. Fifteen people were killed and four remained missing, the Ministry of Emergency Management said on Saturday.

The ministry said it sent emergency relief supplies to severely flooded areas in the two provinces last Friday, including 8,000 tents, 8,000 folding beds, and 50,000 coats and blankets.

Heavy rain triggered a landslide last Thursday in Nanyu, a village in Zhugqu county, Gansu, but so far, no casualties have been reported.

The National Meteorological Centre has warned of possible natural disasters, including flooding and mountain torrents, caused by the continuous rain in western parts of the Sichuan Basin.

The centre said some areas in Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shandong provinces, most of which are located in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, will see high temperatures of 35 deg C to 37 deg C in the following week.

And temperatures could soar as high as 39 deg C in some parts of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, according to the centre.