TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Heavy rain warnings have been issued for Anhui, Wuhan, Shanghai, and many areas along the Yangtze River Basin, further menacing the Three Gorges Dam and threatening the region with further flooding.
With the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) on Monday (July 6) issuing a heavy rain warning across China for the 35th straight day, all sections of the Yangtze River Basin are under some sort of rain or flood alert. Early on Monday morning (July 6), China's emergency response to rainstorms for Anhui and Wuhan has been upgraded to Grade II, the second-highest of its four-tier rain warning system, while a yellow alert for severe weather has been issued for Shanghai.
In addition to Shanghai, the CMA has issued a yellow alert for heavy rain in southern Jiangsu, northwest Zhejiang, central and southern Anhui, northern Jiangxi, eastern and southern Hubei, northern Hunan, southeast Chongqing, northern Guizhou, northwest Yunnan, and northern Heilongjiang. Among these areas, southern Jiangsu, southern Anhui, eastern Hubei, northwest Jiangxi, southeast Chongqing, and northwest Hunan are predicted to see 100-240 mm of rain.
Some of the areas listed above could see sudden heavy downpours of 40 to 80 millimeters, while these areas could also experience severe convective weather such as thunderstorms or gales. According to Chinese-state-run media, this spate of continuous rain has affected 20 million people in 26 provinces and cities in China and nearly 20,000 houses have been destroyed and over 1,000 reservoirs flooded.
The Chinese News Service reported from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Monday morning, the flood alert was raised by two levels. From Sunday morning to Monday morning, Wuhan reported 250 millimeters of rain with flooding occurring in many areas of the city, according to the report.
Colored areas of CMA map show amount of rain expected in milimeters on July 6.
China's Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) reported on Sunday (July 5) that the water levels on the main branches and tributaries of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and Taihu Lake are still on the rise and heavy rainfall is expected to continue. By 5 p.m. on Sunday, the water levels in Lake Tai and Dongting Lake are on the rise, and heavy rainfall is predicted to keep water levels on most parts of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze river high well until July 10, when the rain belt is predicted to shift northward.
In addition, flood alerts may be issued on the Qi and Wu rivers in Chongqing, four of the six main rivers in eastern Hubei, Qingyi, and Shuiyang rivers in Anhui, and Dongtiaoxi in Zhejiang. China's Minister of Water Resources, E Jingping (鄂竟平), said that it may be necessary to increase the discharge of floodwaters from dams in the region, including the Three Gorges Dam, in order to increase capacity of reservoirs in the event of greater floods at later stages.
On Tuesday (July 7), the CMA predicts there will be rainstorms or heavy downpours in northeastern Guizhou, southeastern Chongqing, northern Hunan, eastern and southern Hubei, northern Jiangxi, southern Anhui, and northwestern Zhejiang.
Flooding at Hankou Jiangtan in Wuhan. (CNS photo)
CMA official Wang Zhihua (王志華) on Thursday said that the heavy rains that have been seen since June have covered 60 percent of the counties and cities in Southern China. Wang said that the average rainfall in many places has reached 112.7 mm, 13.5 percent more than the same period last year.
According to data released by China's state-run mouthpiece the "People's Daily" on July 4, as of July 3, 19.38 million people have been affected by the flooding in 26 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities in Guizhou, Sichuan, and Hunan. It reported that the flooding has claimed 121 lives and caused direct economic losses of 41.64 billion yuan (US$5.9 billion).