Cloud seeding brings rainfall to drought-hit SW China

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Artificial rainfall brought some relief to parched Yunnan Province on Saturday as a severe drought ravages southwest China, local authorities said.

Induced by cloud seeding, drizzles, moderate rain, and downpours helped alleviate the drought in 11 cities, prefectures and counties, including Kunming, Chuxiong and Xishuangbanna between 8 a.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday, Ma Lianxiang, chief weather forecaster of the provincial meteorological bureau, said.

Part of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture received up to 32.9 mm of precipitation, giving respite from the drought, according to the prefecture's drought relief headquarters.

Meteorological authorities fired 135 cloud-seeding bombs from 2:43 a.m. Sunday. Many other regions in Yunnan also used the method on Saturday and Sunday to give the best results of recent cloud-seeding efforts, Ma said.

Ma added that more cloud seeding is planned as the weather will be suitable for the method from Monday.

"I was woken up at midnight by powerful thunder. It was to my surprise that heavy rains had arrived," said Liu Yu, a native of Jinghong City, Xishuangbanna.

But in Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture, the area hit hardest by the drought, firings by 112 cloud-seeding cannons induced little rainfall on Saturday, frustrating local residents.

"The rain lasted just a couple of minutes. It only added moisture to my hair. The earth quickly turned dry again," said Li Mingshun, a villager in Dayao County, Chuxiong.

"Although the rain may not contribute to increased water supply, it may at least reduce the fire risks in the forests," said Li Hongbo, director of Chuxiong's meteorological bureau.

The latest weather forecast predicts rain over the next ten days for the drought-hit regions in southwest China, with up to 30 mm of precipitation for Yunnan and Guizhou provinces.

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