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Floods and Drought Warning for Summer

A leading weather expert has warned China may face an apocalyptic summer of severe drought and floods.

Qin Dahe, top official of the China Meteorological Administration, called for early preparedness across the country as the flood season approaches.

He warned: "China may face a grim situation from seasonal floods or drought this year with potential damage -- worse than that of last year."

He added: "There will be much fear of a bad harvest this year if more disasters occur in the following months."

Qin was speaking during a national televised conference on summer weather forecasting and services.

Probabilities of such disasters are increasing, he warned, quoting the latest predictions released yesterday.

The rainy season has started in parts of south China while the national major flood season will follow soon.

"From June to August, two massive rain belts are predicted from the south along the Yangtze River to north on the middle and upper reaches of the Yellow River," Qin said.

In the north, the rain belt is likely to cover the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, northern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and southern parts of northeast China.

In the south, the rain belt may linger over the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, vast areas between the Huaihe and Yangtze rivers, and regions south of the Yangtze with potential flooding likely to hit the middle and lower reaches.

Meanwhile, prolonged drought may scorch the rest of the country with less rainfall expected in many areas, "particularly the northeastern Sichuan Province and western parts of the Tibet Autonomous Region," said Qin.

Another hot summer is expected, particularly on the southern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and along southeast China's coastal areas.

So far this year, temperatures in east China have been lower than the average with more rainfall in most of the south.

Most of western and northeast China as well as parts of south China's Guangdong and Hainan provinces have been plunged into the worst drought in 50 years due to a rapid rise in temperature.

Provinces in central, east, south and southwest China have been hit recently by rain and thunderstorms. Five people were stuck by lightning and killed during the May Day holidays. Gales and hailstorms have struck other areas.

Geologic hazards like mud-rock landslides caused by heavy and prolonged rains have caused casualties and considerable losses of crops and property running into millions of yuan in southwest China's Sichuan and Chongqing.
(China Daily May 10, 2005)

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