China employed artificial means to create rains in at least seven provinces on Saturday to alleviate rare drought, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said Sunday.
Local weather-control officials had fired a total of 2,392 artillery shells and launched 409 rockets in 127 cloud-seeding operations by 10 p.m. Saturday, according to a statement on the CMA website.
Rain-enhancing practices were adopted in such drought-stricken provincial regions as Henan, Gansu, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Hubei and Anhui, it said.
In central China's Henan, artificial precipitation brought on average 0.5 millimeters of rainfall to 17 counties and cities. The province, a major wheat-producing area, is suffering the worst drought in half a century.
Parts of the artificially moistened provinces and north China's Hebei Province saw one to five millimeters of rain from Saturday to Sunday morning, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) reported.
Parts of Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, Anhui and Hubei will see thick clouds during Sunday daytime, favorable for more rain-inducing measures, said the CMA.
The NMC forecast rain and snow on Sunday and Monday in parts of northwest, southwest and central China.
China has declared the highest level of emergency in response to the drought that began to hit most parts of northern China in November.
The foul weather had affected 161 million mu (10.7 million hectares) of crops, 4.37 million people and 2.1 million heads of livestock across the country as of Thursday.
(Xinhua News Agency February 8, 2009)