Unusually heavy rains and massive flooding have hit China’s Henan province, bursting the banks of rivers, overwhelming the public transport system and upending lives of tens of millions.
At least three people have been killed in the provincial capital, Zhengzhou, where more than 20cm (7.8in) of rain fell in one hour on Tuesday. The rainfall shut the city’s subway system, leaving passengers trapped in waist-high water.
More than 10,000 residents of the central province have been moved to shelters, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.
The heavy rain across Henan began on 17 July. On Tuesday, weather authorities issued the highest warning level for the province and Chinese weather forecasts expected further severe downpours.
From Saturday to Tuesday, 3,535 weather stations in Henan, one of China’s most populous provinces with 94 million people, reported rainfall exceeding 5cm. Among the stations 1,614 registered levels above 10cm and 151 above 25cm, the authorities said.
Footage on China’s social media show the world-renowned Shaolin Temple, known for martial arts, as well as other cultural sites, badly affected. Hundreds of trapped residents in Henan called for help online as flooding cut electricity to their homes.
Floods are common in China’s rainy season, but their impact has worsened over the decades, due in part to China’s rapid urbanisation and the global climate crisis.
Extreme weather events have occurred in many parts of China this summer. Hundreds of thousands of residents in Sichuan province had to be relocated this month due to floods and landslides.
In June, Hotan city, in the far-west region of Xinjiang, had record-breaking rainfall, causing one resident to comment on social media that “the rainfall [this month] is equivalent to the combined rainfall of the past two years”.
Greenpeace said the risk of extreme weather was now highest in China in the densely populated city centres but that it was also growing fast for the outskirts of large cities because of rapid urbanisation.
Liu Junyan, of Greenpeace International, told Chinese media: “Because of the highly concentrated population, infrastructure and economic activity, the exposure and vulnerability of climate hazards are higher in urban areas. Cities are an important sector of global greenhouse gas emissions, which account for about 70% of the total emissions.”
Courtesy of theguardian.com
Much of the South experienced snowfall overnight causing several state highways to close as severe gales look set to follow.
Wind would continue today with the potential for severe gales, but the weather should begin to clear tomorrow, forecasters said.
It was expected snow would fall to as low as 100m and the wind would be “bitterly cold”.
Snow settled is suburbs throughout Dunedin last night, including in the Town Belt before it was washed away by rain. Several centimetres of snow is still on the ground in the hill suburbs which contractors are in the process of clearing.
The weather caused disruptions in the South yesterday, with flights affected, and roads and schools closed as the polar blast swept through.
Snow began to fall in parts of Dunedin at 3pm yesterday.
MetService has several severe weather watches and warning still in place for today.
A heavy snow watch is in place for Fiordland south of Charles Sound.
A strong wind watch is in place for most of the South, including North Otago, Dunedin, Clutha, Southland about and south of Mossburn and Stewart Island.
The forecast for Dunedin today is showers, snow to 100m and possible squally thunderstorms before dawn, becoming isolated by afternoon with fine spells. Strong southwest, gale gusting 100 km/h in exposed places at first.
Meanwhile Queenstowners have been advised that if they do not need to drive that they shouldn’t.
The Queenstown District Council advised there was snow throughout the Wakatipu Basin and driving conditions were “extreme”.
The Crown Range Rd remains closed and the Orbus service in the town has been suspended.
Grit trucks are out and snow ploughs are being sent about the region to clear state highways and alpine roads.
If you must drive today, here’s the deal: snow chains, go slow, keep a safe following distance,” the QLDC said.
The Central Otago District Council said only essential travel should be undertaken in the Maniototo & Manuherikia area.
“Snow has fallen here, and freezing temperatures making conditions unfavourable. Crews will be focusing on the townships and sealed roads first.
Areas surrounding Roxburgh, Alexandra and Cromwell townships, especially the higher altitude roads, are heavily affected by snow and travel is not recommended.
Courtesy of odt.co.nz