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China prepares for more flooding
Rainy season has already brought misery, but new problems are expected, including typhoons and further inundation.
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2011 13:58
The rainy season's start has brought deadly floods to such places as Nanchang, in Jiangxi province [GALLO/GETTY]

China's rainy season started off as last year’s finished. The rains are usually heavy and they often bring flooding to some areas, but not this much.

Last year, more than 230 million people were affected by the rainfall, which not only triggered widespread flooding, but also a number of landslides.

In all, 4,200 people are thought to have lost their lives in the annual rains. It was China's worst floods in more than a decade.

This year, the rains have also brought deadly floods, and this is just the beginning of the rainy season which continues until September.

There was a slight break in the rains, but over the past 24 hours they have intensified again. Another 111mm rain has been reported in parts of the Sichuan province.

This is more than half the monthly rainfall, and with all of this falling in a 24 hour period there is no way the ground can absorb it quickly. The excess water will run off, forming large puddles and eventually flooding.

The heavy rain is now tracking northeast over the Shaanxi, Henan and Shandong provinces. Two of these provinces, Henan and Shandong, are currently in a drought, so this rain is important.

However, as the ground is baked hard by the sun, it will not be able to absorb water very quickly, and the rain here will quickly lead to flooding.

There is more misery on the way for China too, as this is the typhoon season and conditions are currently favourable for the cultivation of storms. In the past week, not one but two storms have developed to the east of the Philippines.

The first one to form was tropical depression Haima, which skirted around the Philippines towards the south coast of China. A tropical depression has winds which are below 62km per hour, so the winds of Haima are not likely to be too much of a problem.

However, it certainly is generating a lot of rain. The storm itself is expected to hit the west of the Guangdong province, but rains will be intensified all the way along the south coast and flooding is likely.

The second storm is a more powerful system. At the moment it iss simply called Tropical Storm Seven, but when it becomes a typhoon, it will be given a formal name.

Being a tropical storm, it already has stronger winds than the first storm, Haima, and it is still strengthening.

It is heading north and by the time it hits Taiwan, which is expected on Friday, it is forecast to be the strength of a Category I Hurricane. This may cause damage to the island, as well as bringing yet more heavy rain. The storm will then weaken as it heads over the island towards mainland China.

Shanghai and the province of Zhejiang are both likely to see torrential rain from this storm as it barrels past.

Zhejiang is the province of China which saw some of the worst flooding in the recent rains and the clear-up operation is still under way.

The sliver of good news for Zhejiang is that the storm is expected to pass through the region quite quickly and not hang around, so the torrential rains should be fairly short-lived.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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