Meteorologists have warned that Beijing will experience escalating drought over the next three months.
The total rainfall in the city was 350 millimeters from June 1 to Sept. 14 this year, lower than last year's 358 mm and much lower than the annual average 463 mm for recent years, according to the Beijing municipal water affairs bureau on Thursday.
Drought has affected 44 percent of Beijing's 16,800 square kilometers of land area, according to the city climate center.
Local meteorologists forecast that Beijing may only receive 50 mm to 90 mm of rainfall during the autumn period from September to November, less than previous years.
The Beijing municipal observatory forecast that next week Beijing would enjoy clear days with only a slight drizzle.
Beijing has been hit by drought for seven straight years since 1999 and the current situation is serious, according to the water affairs bureau.
(Xinhua News Agency September 15, 2006)