Severe weather in Southern China has left 55 dead and affected over 1.5 million.

The worst hit province has been Guangdong where 19 people are still missing. Rescue teams have been rescuing people from their flooded homes and searching for anyone trapped by landslides.

On Saturday, the heavy rain has also started to affect the Fujian province. Yanqian Town reported 196mm of rain, which is approximately the amount of rain that’s expected in the entire month.

The torrential downpours caused several of the rivers in the province burst their banks. Homes and businesses were inundated, and large areas of farmland were submerged.

Over 150 homes collapsed in the flood water as local authorities tried to relocate thousands of people to safer locations.

The rains across southern China are usual at this time of year and are known as the Meiyu, Baiu, or Plum Rains. 'Plum' refers to the ripening of the plum crops which happens at this time of year. The rains are also welcomed by rice farmers in both China and Japan.

The Plum Rains arrive from late May to early June and usually peak around June 10 to June 15 in southeastern China.

The rains are vitally important to farmers, and receiving exactly the right amount is crutial. Too much rain can lead to widespread flooding, as was seen in 2010. However, if the rains fail, the subsequent drought can be just as disastrous.

Source: Al Jazeera