Beijing airport cancels 670 flights, as heavy rain wreaks havoc across northern China
Downpours that left roads impassable set to continue for next 18 days, forecasters say
Transport networks across northern China were in chaos on Monday as torrential rains caused the cancellation of hundred of flights in Beijing, and left roads cracked, crumbled and submerged.
According to figures from the website of Beijing Capital International Airport, 670 departures had been cancelled as of 6pm, all of them domestic. The bad weather had less of an impact on international flights, with just two – both to Sydney, Australia – hit by delays.
In both suburban and outlying areas of Beijing, the weather brought traffic to a standstill, as local authorities issued warnings for both high winds and heavy rains.
A total of 22 weather stations reported overnight rainfall in excess of 100mm per hour, while 108 others recorded rates of 50mm per hour.
Zhang Linna, chief forecaster at the Beijing Meteorological Bureau, was quoted as saying by Beijing Evening News that the downpours were caused by a subtropical high pressure belt from the southwest.
The prevailing conditions meant the region was likely to see 18 days of medium to heavy rains, the bureau said.
While the bad weather caused a spike in the number of accidents, there were no reports of any serious injuries.
The roads worst affected by the floods were away from downtown Beijing.
In the Huilongguan neighbourhood, about 30km (18 miles) north of the city, the overnight storms left a road beneath a railway bridge under 20cm of water.
In more rural areas, several motorways were reported to be impassable, while others crumbled under the sheer weight of the floods.
A motorway running between Huairou and Tanghe Kou Zhen districts was left with a 50m-wide section completely missing, the report said.
Authorities across the region said they were carrying out more patrols and security checks at rivers, canals and reservoirs, and advised people to avoid those areas worst affected by the bad weather.