Beijing and the neighboring Hebei Province employed artificial rainmaking technology to create the biggest rainfall of this spring on Friday.
"Beijing saw the biggest and longest rainfall in this spring on Friday," said an official with Beijing Municipal Meteorological Office.
Beijing started artificial precipitation operations at 5:00 AM on Friday in eight sections while Hebei started at 7:00 AM in Zhangjiakou city and later in Chengde city, the official said.
The weather-control bases launched rockets and fired artillery shells containing silver iodine into the sky in the cloud-seeding operation, said the official.
"The rain is expected to relieve the recent drought and restrain sandstorms," the official said.
Beijing and more than 100 cities and towns in Hebei saw rain on Friday.
More rainfall is predicted for the next week, according to Hebei Meteorological Bureau.
North China provinces have been combating a worsening drought that has caused water shortages for people and livestock and affected crops growth.
Neighboring Hebei Province has been facing a severe drought, which has affected more than 3 million hectares of cropland and left residents in some areas short of drinking water.
China has 6,781 artillery guns and 4,110 rocket launchers in its rainmaking arsenal, and conducted 4,231 cloud-seeding flights from 1995 to 2003, according to the China Meteorological Administration.
(Xinhua News Agency March 29, 2008)