Heavy summer rainfall expected to wreak havoc The Yangtze River will be hit by more severe flooding this year, according to the China Meteorological Administration, which forecasts higher levels of rainfall in the region than last year. 'China is entering the flood season, which usually lasts from June to August,' said Ren Fumin , senior engineer with the administration. 'Our analysis indicates there will be more rainfall this year across the nation.' Two rain belts - one extending from Inner Mongolia to Xinjiang and the other covering the Yangtze River - would bring huge amounts of rainfall, he said. 'There will be more severe floods on the Yangtze River this year than last year, but it is not likely to be as serious as 1998.' Devastating floods on the river killed 6,500 people and caused much damage in 1998. The Yangtze, which snakes from the western Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to the East China Sea, serves as a drainage basin for 1.8 million sq km of land across nine provinces. It is estimated to have flooded more than 1,000 times during the past two millennia. Last year was considered a relatively peaceful year, although 615 people died and 76.3 million were affected, Mr Ren said. At a recent meeting of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu said the predictions of heavy rainfall and a more widespread affected area would lead to greater flood-prevention measures. Mr Ren said temperatures were expected to remain at normal levels over the next three months. The exception would be in the coastal areas of the southeast and the southern part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, where slightly warmer weather was expected. He predicted as many as seven typhoons would make landfall between the end of June and the beginning of October. 'Guangdong province, including Hong Kong, will see more frequent typhoon movements compared with last year, as their paths will incline more to the western areas this year,' he said. 'This summer's typhoons could come a little bit earlier than usual with stronger force,' Mr Ren warned.