More extreme weather events expected to pummel China in July, August

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Buildings and farmlands are seen partially submerged in floodwaters following heavy rainfall in Poyang county of Jiangxi province, China July 17, 2020. China Daily via REUTERS

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BEIJING, June 28 (Reuters) - Extreme flooding that has battered southern and eastern provinces in China, leading to hundreds of thousands being evacuated and the highest rainfall in decades at the Pearl River basin, will likely continue in July and August, according to a government official.

"It is predicted that from July to August, there will be more extreme weather events in China, and regional flood conditions and drought conditions will be heavier than usual," said Yao Wenguang, director of the Department of Flood and Drought Disaster Prevention of the Ministry of Water Resources, in an interview with Xinhua News Agency.

Images on social media, from cars trapped underwater to emergency rescues in floating rafts, reveal the widespread calamity in the country. A home collapsing into a river in Southern China recently went viral on Tik Tok.

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"From late May to mid-June, there were seven consecutive heavy rainfall processes in the Pearl River Basin, with relatively concentrated and overlapping rain areas, heavy rain intensity and heavy cumulative rainfall," Yao Wenguang said.

China has been grappling with extreme weather contrasts, with Guangdong, Fujian and Guangxi provinces experiencing record rainfall while Shandong, Henan and Hebei provinces faced scorching heatwaves, pressuring the national power grid.

Meanwhile, drought conditions are also exacerbating problems with Yao Wenguang saying, "At present, drought has emerged in some parts of northern China and developed rapidly, mainly concentrated in Inner Mongolia, Henan, Shaanxi, Gansu and other provinces and regions."

He said in response to the drought in four provinces and regions, the Ministry of Water Resources launched a drought defense level IV emergency response on June 25, sending three working groups to stricken areas in Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi and Gansu to help with measures to fight the drought.

Extreme weather events are making headlines across the globe, with flooding in China, India and Bangladesh and heatwaves in South Asia, Europe and the United States. Many scientists and experts point to climate change as the culprit.

On Tuesday, a team of climate scientists published a study in the journal Environmental Research: Climate, looking into the role climate change has played in individual weather events over the past two decades. The findings confirm warnings of how global warming will change our world - and also make clear what information is missing. read more

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Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Writing by Bernard Orr; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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