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More Rain in North; Heatwave Continues in South

More rain is forecast in northern China in the next two to three days, increasing flood risks, while the drought in southern China will worsen as its heat wave continues.


Torrential or persistent moderate rainfall is likely to increase water levels in the Songhua and Nenjiang rivers in Northeast China, putting the region on alert for possible flooding, meteorologists with the Central Meteorological Station said on Friday.

Over the next several days, eastern Inner Mongolia and western Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces can expect heavy rain.


Frequent thunderstorms happened in Heilongjiang in the past two months caused 18 lightning accidents, killing 11 people, local officials said.


Many hydrological stations along the middle reaches of the Yellow River, the second largest in China, experienced their highest flood peaks in five years on Thursday.


The river was flowing at Longmen hydrological station in Central China's Henan Province at 7,230 cubic metres per second on Thursday afternoon.


The flood peak, the first in this stretch of the river since 1998, was caused by moderate to heavy rainfall in upstream areas in Northwest China's Shaanxi and North China's Shanxi provinces over the previous days, according to officials with the Yellow River Flood Control Headquarters in Henan.


Huaihe River water levels have been gradually dropping in the middle reaches. However, experts with the Huaihe River Flood Control Headquarters said on Thursday it will take three more days to drop below the flood warning line along the full length of this section.


The headquarters warned that after long periods of saturation, the dikes are still at risk in spite of falling water levels, and flood control staff must remain vigilant.


Floods in northern China destroyed part of the Beijing-Kowloon railway line in Hebei and Shandong provinces on Thursday and delayed more than a dozen trains.


After overnight repairs, rail traffic resumed early on Friday morning and more than 6,000 passengers who were stranded at Beijing West Railway Station on Thursday night began their journey on Friday morning, railway station staff said.


As floods inundated the north, drought worsened in the south and east of China.


Many small reservoirs and rivers are drying up in East China's Fujian, Zhejiang and Jiangxi provinces, Central China's Hunan Province and South China's Guangdong Province, meteorologists with the Central Meteorological Station said.


These provinces are short of water and electricity, and the heat is damaging rice paddies and orchards.


Eight people went missing in the Qiantang River in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang Province, on Thursday after going swimming to escape the heat wave.


The sizzling temperatures are forecast to continue for at least another five days in southern China, where some areas can expect maximums of 39 to 42 C, meteorologists said.


(China Daily August 2, 2003)

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