Rain falls on areas hit by drought

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Heavy rains in East, Central and South China over the weekend brought much-needed relief from a drought, as well as disastrous losses.

In the past two days, warnings about dangerous weather have come from weather bureaus in 82 cities in East China's Shandong, Fujian and Jiangxi provinces; Central China's Henan province; North China's Hebei province; South China's Guangdong province and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region; and other places.

By 3 pm on Sunday, 26 cities had retracted the warnings, even while rainstorms, lightning and hailstorms still threatened Henan, Gansu, Shandong, Guangxi and Chongqing.

In Foshan, Guangdong province, four people died and 17 were injured in a tornado on Saturday. According to the local government's micro blog, two of them died in house collapses and two after being shocked by lightning.

In addition, rainstorms pounded Guilin, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on Sunday, prompting authorities to halt road traffic and issue storm warnings.

From the start of the rain on Sunday morning until 2 pm, 100 mm of rain fell on the region, a record amount for the year.

Excessive rain caused a road to collapse in Guilin and road administrators sent out rescue workers in response.

In Heyuan, Guangdong province, nearly four straight hours of rainfall flooded the streets on Saturday.

In some places, the water was as deep as 1.5 meters, and the local flood control department was working around the clock to find ways to get the water to drain.

The heavy rainfall will last until Thursday and will move from Northwest China to the Southeast, according to the China Meteorological Administration. Temperatures are expected to drop by 4 C to 8 C in northern regions.

Meanwhile, experts from the meteorological administration said the rain will go far to end East China's bout of dry weather.

"The precipitation will alleviate the drought in most areas in Shandong," said Gao Liuxi, a senior engineer of the Shandong provincial meteorological bureau.

Shandong has suffered from dry weather since late February, leaving 353,500 hectares of cropland short of water.

Yet, the latest rain, as helpful as it has been, has not ended the drought completely because it has not fallen on some of the most stricken regions. Linyi, a city in the southeast part of Shandong, has seen nary a drop.

"After long rainless days, the reservoir almost dried up, the wheat fields were parched and the land was just too dry for further sowing," a local villager, Ge Liancheng, said on Sunday.

Besides Shandong, the drought also hit Shanxi, Shaanxi, Hebei, Henan, Jiangsu, Anhui and Hubei provinces in the spring, leaving 364,000 hectares of farmland stricken, according to the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

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