Persistent heavy rain on Wednesday caused widespread disruption in the Chinese capital, Beijing, forcing the delay and cancellation of hundreds of flights and the closure trains and subway stations.
At least one person was killed and 34 missing as torrential rain lashed northern China, state media reported Wednesday (Jul 20).
Heavy downpours struck Hebei province which surrounds Beijing, causing all major rivers to breach their banks and damaging 11 dams and two hydropower stations, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Thunderstorms and severe weather have led to hundreds of flight cancellations and delays at airports in Beijing and neighbouring Tianjin. Heavy rain also caused delay at train and subway stations.
Nearly 200 flights scheduled to leave Beijing Capital International Airport had been cancelled by 1pm on Wednesday, while no flights have landed or taken off at Tianjin Binhai International Airport since about 3am today.
Beijing’s weather bureau said the rain could cause the most serious flooding in the capital since 79 people died in storms in 2012.
— Stephen McDonell (@StephenMcDonell) July 20, 2016
Beijing updated its alert for torrential rain from yellow to orange at 11.30 am on Wednesday, the second highest on a four-tier alert system. China has a four-tier color-coded system for severe weather, with red being the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue.
Around 70 mm of rain fell in central and southern Beijing in six hours, according to the city’s meteorological authority. Heavy rain is expected to last until Wednesday night and may exceed 100 mm.
Besides Beijing, torrential rain will hit parts of Tianjin, Hebei, Liaoning, Jilin, Inner Mongolia, Shandong, Henan, Jiangsu, Anhui, Hubei, Hunan and Yunnan from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday afternoon, with rainfall of up to 240 millimeters in some places.
Hebei, a province around Beijing, issued a red alert for heavy rain on Wednesday, and Tianjin also issued an orange alert.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) July 20, 2016
The National Meteorological Center advised people living in the affected areas to prepare for possible floods, landslides and mud and rock flows, and those that live in mountainous areas should move to safe places.
Heavy rains hit large part of China on Tuesday, and an area of around 635,000 square kilometers covering North China, Central China and East China have seen daily precipitation of more than 50 millimeters.
Torrential rain has already wreaked havoc in southern China this year, causing floods in several major cities including Wuhan in the central province of Hubei.
In Central China’s Hubei province, heavy rain killed five residents in Enshi Tujia and Miao autonomous prefecture on Tuesday, bringing the death toll in Hubei to six, according to the provincial bureau of civil affairs. One remains missing.