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Rainstorms to Continue Lashing South, East

Heavy rains have lashed China's southern and eastern regions for the last four days and will continue to fall between the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the Yangtze River area for the next two days, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said.

As of yesterday, powerful downpours had afflicted seven cities, home to a total of 1.5 million people, in Guangdong Province. The rainstorms destroyed at least 1,532 houses and forced 156 factories to suspend operations.

Also as of yesterday, 368 landslides had taken place in Xinyi, of western Guangdong, killing one person.

In addition, 22 counties in Jiangxi Province had experienced heavy rains since Sunday, affecting 410,000 people and displacing 3,305.

Huangshan, in Anhui Province, raised its alert level to orange, as rainstorms had affected 520,000 people for four days straight, Xinhua News Agency reported.

In Lingyun County, near Baise, in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, floods caused by continuous rainfall have submerged more than 700 hectares of farmland. Water was knee-deep or higher on the county's main streets.

Another powerful downpour is forecast to lash southern China on Thursday, CMA forecast.

CMA forecaster Yang Guiming predicted rainfall would diminish today in the Pearl and Yangtze river basins, where it has been heavy from Saturday to yesterday, before again becoming torrential tomorrow.

CMA has issued orange-level rainstorm watches in the provinces of Jiangxi, Hubei, Anhui and Zhejiang.

The orange-level rainstorm watch means precipitation would reach 50 mm within a three-hour period, or, in areas that have already received more than 50 mm of rain, heavy downpours are expected to continue. The red level is considered the most dangerous of the weather warning system.

"The heavy rainfall came a few days later than in previous years in the Pearl River basin but a few days earlier than usual in the Yangtze River basin," Yang said.

The administration suggested local authorities prepare emergency responses, such as improving drainage systems in cities and farmlands.

It also recommended residents suspend outdoor activities and shut off outdoor electrical power sources.

In addition, CMA and the Ministry of Land and Resources jointly issued a geological disaster forecast at 11:00 AM yesterday, warning landslides and mudflows are likely to occur in the mountainous areas of Guangdong, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui and Zhejiang provinces.

Guangdong Province would face at least two more powerful rainstorms this month, weather forecasters said, and local flood prevention authorities have prepared responses.

From Monday to yesterday, Guangxi, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces, all of which border Guangdong, experienced heavy rainfall.

Flooding from these provinces would soon flow into the lower reaches of the Pearl River in Guangdong.

Li Jianji, a weather expert in Guangzhou, said Guangdong's coastal cities would probably face typhoons or high tides this month, and flooding might be more severe than expected.

(China Daily June 11, 2008)

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