China faces extreme weather as temperatures rise, more rain falls - government forecasters

Men try to remove a bunch of bamboos from a bridge in floodwaters following heavy rainfall in Rongan county, Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China June 10, 2019. Picture taken June 10, 2019. China Daily via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT.

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Extreme weather in China is becoming increasingly frequent, with temperatures in some regions hitting record highs this year and with rainfall set to exceed average levels by 70% in the next 10 days, officials at the nation’s weather bureau warned.

Speaking at a briefing on Tuesday, Liao Jun of the disaster relief department of the China Meteorological Administration said average temperatures this year in China have been 0.9 degrees Celsius higher than the average since 1961.

Liao said average temperatures in the southwest province of Yunnan and the island province of Hainan have been the highest since 1961, adding that as many as 40 weather stations across the country have recorded their hottest temperatures ever.

While average rainfall in Yunnan and Tibet has been the lowest since 1961, other regions have been facing “extreme precipitation events”, with rain in parts of Jiangxi, Hunan and Guizhou “breaching historical extremes”, Liao told reporters.

Large parts of southern China’s planting regions have been waterlogged, affecting rice, tobacco and fruit production, he said, adding that rainfall in the south over the next 10 days is expected to exceed average levels by between 30%-70%.

“From a wider perspective, along with global warming, the likelihood of extreme weather events is increasing,” said Chen Hao, an official with China’s National Climate Center, at the same Tuesday briefing.

China’s Ministry of Emergency Management said on Tuesday that it had already disbursed 1.32 billion yuan ($192 million) in emergency funds to help disaster relief, with a large proportion of the money going to flood-hit central and southern regions.

Reporting by David Stanway