China evacuates 40,000 people from floods, more rain expected

BEIJING – More than 40,000 people in China’s Sichuan province have been evacuated because of floods, state media reported on Wednesday, as cloudbursts dropped huge amounts of precipitation over several parts of the country.

Bursts of unusually heavy rain have saturated different areas over the past few weeks, causing flooding and mudslides that have destroyed homes, damaged infrastructure and killed several people.

China’s rain and floods come as several other parts of the world have been seeing similar disastrous downpours, raising new fears about the pace of climate change.

State broadcaster CCTV reported that 300.7 mm (11.8 inches) of rain had fallen over Yaan city in Sichuan province over about 14 hours, causing flash floods and mudslides that destroyed homes.

Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, issued a red alert, the highest in a four-tier warning system, for heavy rain and several areas have reported record rainfall.

Guanyun county in Jiangsu province had 275.4 mm (10.8 inches) of rain overnight on Monday, according to the China Meteorological Administration.

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Xiatai town in Guangdong province had daily downpours averaging 439 mm (17.3 inches) at the end of June, Southern Metropolis Daily reported.

Yuanling county in Hunan province had 137.4 mm (5.4 inches) of rain in an hour on June 30, the Hunan Meteorological Bureau said.

Meteorological authorities extended an alert for rainstorms to Thursday morning for several provinces including Shanxi, Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu, Anhui, Sichuan, Gansu, and the Tibet region, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The National Meteorological Center said some of those areas could see more than 70 mm of rain in an hour, as well as thunderstorms, gales, and hailstorms, state media reported.

Officials have repeatedly warned of extreme weather and geological disasters throughout July.


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