Accidents, extreme weather and disasters in China
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Temporary scaffolding blown down by a tornado in Guangzhou, capital of China’s Guangdong province. Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

China hit by floods, heatwaves and a tornado, with more weather misery on the way

  • Severe storm and flooding alerts go out in seven southern regions
  • Temperatures in central and northern China expected to hit unusual highs into next week
After a rare convergence of record rainfall, heatwaves, and a tornado in the southern megacity of Guangzhou that displaced millions of people, damaged property and swamped farmland, more storms and floods are on the way for China.

The country’s south is expected to see torrential rain until Tuesday, state media reported, with no immediate reprieve to the region inundated by downpours in the past week.

At least seven southern provinces and regions have issued alerts for severe storms and floods for the next 24 hours.

Authorities had issued warnings of “extreme weather events” as early as April, ahead of the rainy season that signals the seasonal transition from spring to summer in June.

China could see more extreme weather this rainy season, forecasters say

China is historically prone to floods, triggering landslides and swamping many acres of farmland.

In recent times, the country has grown even more vulnerable, owing to deforestation, the reclamation of wetlands and the storage of water for power generation and irrigation.

China also blames climate change for the increase in extreme weather events.

The aviation regulator on Friday cautioned airlines against flying through extreme weather, with severe convection storms to be expected over the summer.

“Weather conditions in China will tend to be unfavourable this summer,” an official said on Friday.

Late on Thursday, a tornado ripped through parts of Guangzhou during a heavy rainstorm, local media reported, cutting off power supply to over 5,400 users in the sprawling capital of southern Guangdong province.

Local media reported dangerous water levels, with high waves in the broader Pearl River Basin, prompting the central government to dispatch flood prevention workers.

Since May, precipitation in the basin – a vast river system encompassing Guangdong and parts of Guangxi, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guizhou and Yunnan provinces – has risen to its highest since 1961, state media reported citing the National Climate Centre.


Rescuers save 13,000 pigs trapped in flash floods in China’s southern Guangxi region

Rescuers save 13,000 pigs trapped in flash floods in China’s southern Guangxi region

In Fujian province north of the basin, authorities warned that recent record-breaking rainfall would persist into next week, posing a high risk of natural disasters.

Meanwhile, temperatures in central and northern China are expected to hit unusual highs into next week, surpassing 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

The abnormally warm weather has already hit Zhengzhou, the capital of central Henan province hit by record rainfall and paralysed by devastating floods last summer.