Most of the northern Chinese provinces welcomed a rainy day Thursday, as the country's worst drought in decades continued to batter the region.
A drizzle brings smile on pedestrians' faces as they walk on a Beijing street yeaterday. The city experienced its first rain after 110 days, the longest in 38 years. [Wang Jing/China Daily]
Local authorities have prepared thousands of weather rocket shells to be fired into the sky to stimulate precipitation in Beijing, Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi and other provinces.
"The drought could be eased a little if the rainfall reached more than 10 mm," said Li Baodong, head of the Hebei Provincial Weather Modification Office.
By 3 p.m. Thursday, the rainfall had reached 2.7 mm in some parts of the province, he said.
"We have deployed 2,707 rocket shells across the province," he said.
It was not immediately known how many rocket shells were used during Thursday's operation to artificially stimulate rain in the province.
The rainy weather is expected to last until Friday in most of the northern provinces, according to the National Meteorological Center (NMC).
The provinces of Shaanxi, Shanxi, Hebei, Henan, Shandong, Anhui, Jiangsu and Hubei, the major wheat-growing areas that have been hard-hit by an unusually severe drought, will have rain or snow, the NMC predicted.
Total rainfall will be less than 10 millimeters but will provide moderate relief from the grim drought, it said.
Many regions have not seen rainfall for more than 100 days.