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There will be no respite from the current heat wave or rainstorms this month, meteorologists are predicting. And two or three typhoons are also forecast to hit coastal areas.


Song Lianchun, a spokesman for the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), told a news conference yesterday that areas south of the Yangtze River delta in China's southern area, including the provinces of Zhejiang, Guangdong, Fujian and Shanghai Municipality, will continue to experience high temperatures and low rainfall throughout this month.


He said people in those areas should expect five to eight "scorching days" when temperatures exceed 35 C.


In most areas of China, except the northeastern part of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and the northern part of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the average temperature for the month will be a little higher than normal, Song said.


In addition to the high temperatures, rainfall in the Yellow River and Yangtze River basins will remain relatively high, he said.


In certain areas of Sichuan and Guangdong provinces, as well as the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, rainfall is estimated to exceed 400 mm this month, Song said.


The CMA also said that two or three typhoons are expected to hit China's coastal regions this month.


Meteorologists have urged all relevant departments to prepare their emergency responses for all natural disasters including storms, lightning strikes and cyclones.


Last month, fierce rainstorms swept across the nation, triggering floods, landslides and mud-rock flows.


Several extreme weather records were broken.


The Huaihe River, for example, which witnessed some 460 mm of rainfall last month, is expected to record its worst floods since 1954. They have already affected more than 30 million people.


Similarly, authorities in Jinan, capital of East China's Shandong Province, recorded 151 mm of rain in one hour on July 18, the most since 1958.


Lightning strikes across the country claimed 141 lives last month, another record in recent history, the CMA said.


Meteorologists have warned people in rural areas not to work outside on days when lightning is forecast.


By the end of last month, more than 6 million people had been affected by the widespread and prolonged droughts in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province and North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Four million hectares of farmland in Heilongjiang had also been severely hit.


"It should be said that one of the reasons for the extreme weather this year is the unusual atmospheric circulation brought about by global warming," Song said.


And things are likely to get much worse in the future, he said.


(China Daily August 2, 2007)


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