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Better weather forecasts urged
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China's meteorological chief has urged the country's weather forecasters to enhance weather monitoring and provide more accurate forecasts, as the worst rainstorms in a century continue lashing southern regions.

The fact that forecasters were not able to assist authorities with disaster control demonstrates shortcomings in the country's current short-term weather prediction capabilities, China Meteorological Administration (CMA) director Zheng Guoguang said during a teleconference on Saturday in Beijing.

He called on all meteorological departments to improve extreme weather-forecasting accuracy, especially in areas prone to weather-related disasters.

Continuous downpours have lashed 12 southern provincial-level regions since June 7, including Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan and Jiangxi.

Some of these regions were hit by the heaviest rainfall recorded in more than a century.

Floods have caused heavy losses of life and property in the region.

As of Wednesday, 176 people had died and 52 were missing in the disaster.

The CMA has warned heavy rainfall will continue to affect most parts of south and southwest China in the coming few days.

CMA Deputy Director Wang Shourong said most parts of China would see rain in the coming 10 days, and the Yangtze and Huaihe river valleys, Guizhou, Sichuan and the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River would be hit hardest.

Most of these areas will experience 30 percent to 60 percent more rainfall than the average of normal years.

The CMA also warned of potential floods and landslides.

(China Daily June 23, 2008)

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