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 a higher water level since June 16.
The water level at Wuhan climbed 45 cm in three days reaching 21.64 meters by June 17.
The forecast of local meteorological and hydraulic departments showed there will be "two heavy rain belts" covering most parts of north and south China this summer.
South China is expected to have more rainfall than last year. The Yangtze River and southeast part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau will probably be hit by floods as these regions will have more rainfall than previous years, according to the forecast.
Weathermen predicted that the rainfall at the Jianghan Plain will be 20 percent more than last year during the upcoming June-August flood season. The water level at Wuhan is to reach the highest level of 27 meters, which is 2.5 meters or three meters higher than the ground surface of Hankou.
Meanwhile, embankments of the Yangtze River mainstream and its tributaries remain weak. The flood-relief capability at many river courses is poor. Hidden trouble still exists at some reservoirs since the Three Gorges began to store water.
Consequently, Hubei and some other provinces along the Yangtze River are facing a severe situation in flood control this year, a Hubei provincial flood control headquarters official said.
(Xinhua News Agency June 23, 2004)