The water level at the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze and Huaihe rivers has risen on all fronts since the rainy season began last week, presenting a severe test for China’s flood control facilities. Two-thirds of 12 hydraulic observation centers along the Yangtze River, China's largest, have reported higher water levels since June 16.
The water level at Wuhan climbed 45 centimeters in three days, reaching 21.6 meters by June 17.
Local meteorological departments are forecasting two belts of heavy rain that will cover much of the northern and southern regions this summer.
South China is expected to have more rainfall than last year. Floods are likely to hit the Yangtze River and southeast part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, as these regions will have more rainfall than in previous years. Rainfall during the June-August flood season on the Jianghan Plain, in Hubei Province, is expected to be 20 percent higher than last year. The water level at Wuhan may reach a peak of 27 meters, which is 2.5 to 3.0 meters higher than the ground level of Hankou.
Meanwhile, embankments along the main trunk of the Yangtze River and its tributaries remain weak. The flood-relief capability in many areas is poor, and undetected problems are certain to have arisen at some reservoirs since the Three Gorges began to store water.
(Xinhua News Agency June 23, 2004)