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Beijing hit by drought, no rain for 93 consecutive days

0 CommentsPrint E-mail CNTV, January 26, 2011
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Turning now to Northern China, where a prolonged dry spell has caused severe drought in most areas. Beijing has not seen a drop of rain for 93 consecutive days. Experts say that the capital is heading for its latest arrival of winter snow for 60 years. James Kim brings us more on the drought's effects and some of the possible causes of this abnormal weather.

Clear, and dry, can be the summary of winter in Beijing so far this year.

The last time the capital had gone so long before the first snow of the season was January the 29th, 1984.

This year is set to break that record. Although a few flakes fell in Decemebr, experts say this can't be qualified as the first winter snowfall because of the small volume and narrow coverage.

Sun Jisong, Beijing Meteorological Observatory, said, "The winter drought is not only affecting Beijing, the North China plain including Tianjin Municipality, Hebei and Shandong Province are all suffering from a lack of rainfall, and the situation is becoming worse day by day."

Hebei Province is also suffering. Land is drying out and crops are dying. The dry situation has worried many farmers including Mr Fan. He grows half a hectare of wheat, but no rain has fallen on his crop since November.

Fan Shengjun, Farmer of Feixiang County, Hebei Province, said, "You can see what the situation is. Crops are witherhing due to the drought."

The average rainfall in Hebei Province is currently 2 millimeters, 80 percent less than normal standard.

More than one million hectares of wheat are now in desperate need of water.

Experts say the abnormal conditions are related to the weather system known as La Nina, which causes an extensive cooling of the eastern and central regions of the Pacific.

"This winter, the cold air is very active in Northern China, but one of the most important conditions for producing rain is water vapor. If no vapor comes, the coldest air won't form snow. Up to now, the channels for transporting the vapor is not smooth because those regions are under the impact of La Nina." Sun said.

Another reason for the severity of the drought is that eastern winds are not strong enough to blow vapor on the Yellow sea back onto the North China plain.

With this combination of factors and forecasters predicting the dry spell to continue, the drought and the misery for farmers are set to continue for a little while yet..


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