Southern China has been hit by heavy rainfall which has brought widespread flooding. At least 26 people are known to have died and several are still reported as missing. In total, some 3 million people have been affected by flooding across the southern provinces.
Yunan, Guangxi and Hunan provinces seem to have borne the brunt of the rainfall which is part of the seasonal rains caused by the Meiyu-Baiu weather front. This arises from a combination of low pressure over central China and the inflow of warm, moist air from Indonesia.
Flooding is an annual hazard as the Maiyu-Baiu front develops, but reports of a month’s worth of rain in just 24 hours from parts of Guangxi suggest that some areas have seen exceptionally heavy rain in recent days.
Agricultural output has been badly affected and total economic loses have been estimated at around $650 million.
The weather front migrates slowly northwards between June and mid-July, reaching the Yangtze river valley by the month’s end.
Meanwhile, summer heat and humidity are encouraging severe storms further north in the country. In Hebei province Red Alerts were issued for the risk of hail and lightning and there have been reports of extensive crop damage caused by large hailstones.