TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Three Gorges Dam is likely to see its fourth flood this year, as torrential rain has ravaged the upper reaches of the Yangtze River in Sichuan Province this week.
Flooding from heavy rain, which began hammering Sichuan on Monday (Aug. 10), has cut off five expressways, five toll stations, and 12 national and provincial roads. About 100,000 people have been affected by flooding in 14 rivers across the province thus far.
The most heavily impacted area is the city of Meishan, which is reportedly almost completely inundated, affecting 21,000 people. Villages, towns, and farmland along the Min River, a tributary of the Yangtze River, have also experienced extensive flooding.
Flooding in Meishan's Dongpo District. (Internet photo)
According to Chinese state media reports, heavy downpours on Wednesday (Aug. 12) occurred in parts of several of Sichuan's cities, including western Guangyuan, central Mianyang, western Deyang, and western Chengdu. Of these areas, the heaviest recorded rainfall was in Deyang, which saw 191.7 millimeters of rain.
Rainstorms may continue on Thursday (Aug. 13), with the Sichuan Meteorology Bureau still issuing an orange rainstorm warning. From Aug. 11 to Aug. 12, approximately 107,000 people were affected by flooding across Sichuan Province, reported China's state-run mouthpiece Xinhua.
The city of Ya'an reported six deaths and five people missing, and more than 40,000 were evacuated from their homes, with maximum precipitation reaching 447.5 mm, according to Xinhua. At 7 a.m. on Aug. 11, a sightseeing bus in Sichuan's scenic Jiuzhai Valley National Park was hit by a landslide caused by the heavy rainfall, causing one death and six injuries.
Flooding in Leshan City. (Internet photo)
As severe convective weather continues to ravage China, the China Meteorological Administration's National Meteorological Center, Ministry of Water Resources, and Ministry of Natural Resources issued rainstorm warnings, red mountain torrent disaster warnings, and an alert about weather potentially triggering geological disasters. These warnings are in effect from 8 p.m. Aug. 12 to 8 p.m. Aug. 13.
The authorities pointed out that heavy rain was reported in Inner Mongolia, northeast China, northern China, northwest China, Yunnan, and southern China, while severe storms occurred in Beijing and Shaanxi and heavy rain is expected to continue in the Sichuan Basin.
According to the Changjiang Hydrology website, the water level in the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River has risen again, and the water depth in Chongqing's Cuntan and Wulong districts, the city of Yichang, and Jinzhou's Shashi District have all exceeded the warning level. China's Three Gorges Dam suffered three waves of floods in July, and officials fear that the latest bout of rains will swell its reservoir again, forcing authorities to open the sluicegates and flood communities downstream for the fourth time this year.
Floodwaters reaching feet of Leshan Giant Buddha. (Internet photo)
On August 12, #floods approaching #LeshanGiantBuddha (https://t.co/o39UTVve6m) in #Sichuan province #China. Leshan Giant Buddha is the largest & tallest ( 71-metre, 233 ft) stone Buddha statue in the world built between 713 and 803 (during the Tang dynasty), depicting Maitreya pic.twitter.com/aG4wOlgjh0— Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferatntd) August 12, 2020
On August 12, floods approaching Leshan Giant Buddha(https://t.co/o39UTVve6m) in #Sichuan province, #China. Leshan Giant Buddha is the largest and tallest ( 71-metre, 233 ft)stone Buddha statue in the world built between 713 and 803 (during the Tang dynasty), depicting Maitreya. pic.twitter.com/ljUJjvVvs9— Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferatntd) August 12, 2020
任他潮起潮落，不如凑齐一桌。— 红朝末年观察 (@DynastyEndChaos) August 12, 2020
四川德阳 绵竹市2020年8月12日泥石流— 白七的纪录 (@Fei_Nigh) August 12, 2020
Mianzhu City, Sichuan, August 12, 2020 debris flow pic.twitter.com/IkrrJ0mxpL