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China torn by heatwave, rainstorm
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The heatwave continues in Beijing and several other northern provinces Thursday, while rainstorms drench at least half of the country.

The maximum temperature reached 36 degrees Celsius Thursday in Beijing, at least 10 days after the heatwave began.

The city's weather bureau said Thursday Beijing had experienced the hottest June since 1951, with the average temperature climbing 3.7 degrees Celsius higher than that of last year.

In June, the mercury climbed above 35 degrees Celsius on eight days, compared with the normal 2.5 days. Scorching heat during the day drove the average temperature in the last 10 days to 28.8 degrees, though the low temperature rarely exceeded 22 degrees.

"Last month's rainfall was 30 percent less year-on-year. The total rainfall in the last 10 days of June was only 10 percent of the normal volume," said Zhang Qing, the bureau's chief engineer.

The bureau estimated Beijing's temperature would stay high throughout July and August. The average summer temperature would be about one degree Celsius higher than last year but close to the average of the past decade, said Zhang.

While Beijing and neighboring provinces are fighting the heatwave, half of the country is being drenched in rain or flood.

The latest round of rainstorms that Sunday have battered 22 Chinese localities, killing 95 people and leaving another 21 missing, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said Wednesday.

It said the rainstorms caused 10.78 billion yuan (about 1.48 billion U.S. dollars) in direct economic losses.

Alarms for flood, landslide and mud-rock flow remained high Thursday in the provinces of Anhui, Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

In the eastern Anhui Province alone, rainstorms have killed five and left one missing. In Baiguowei Town alone, flooding has caused the evacuation of more than 4,000 people, who rely on a daily allowance of 10 to 15 yuan each. Most of them are staying with relatives in neighboring towns.

The mountainous Guizhou Province in the southwest, one of the worst-hit provinces, has reported nine deaths since Monday. The provincial weather bureau said heavy rain was expected to last until Saturday and warned residents of landslides and other geological disasters.

(Xinhua News Agency July 2, 2009)

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