Moderate rain is forecast to hit China's quake-ravaged southwestern Sichuan Province later the week, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) said Monday.
"From Thursday to Friday, the quake regions would have moderate rain and some parts heavy rain," the center stated.
The rainy weather will likely complicate the rescue efforts and raise the risk of the quake-formed lakes bursting their banks and flooding.
China has sent thousands of rescuers to drain or reinforce the dozens of lakes formed when quake-triggered landslides cut off rivers, as the summer rainy season approaches.
The death toll from the magnitude 8.0 earthquake on May 12 rose to 69,019 as of Monday noon, the Information Office of the State Council said. Another 18,627 were still missing.
The quake regions would have cloudy weather or light rain showers during the three days through Wednesday, the NMC said.
It suggested quake victims take measures to guard against heatstroke as the temperature under the makeshift shelters could reach as high as 37 degrees Celsius.
(Xinhua News Agency June 3, 2008)