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Storms, floods, typhoon hit country

By HOU LIQIANG in Beijing and LI WENFANG in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2021-07-21 10:13

A herd of sheep trapped by floodwaters in Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, is rescued by police officers on Sunday. Flooding caused by heavy rain has affected more than 16,000 people and over 21,000 hectares of farmland in Inner Mongolia. JIANG TONG/FOR CHINA DAILY

Thousands of people relocated in Henan as heavy rains batter central province

More than 144,000 residents have been affected by torrential rains in Central China's Henan province since Friday, and 10,152 have been relocated to safe places, the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters said on Tuesday.

Heavy rainfall triggered a grade 1 emergency response, the highest level in a four-tier system, in Zhengzhou, Henan's provincial capital, on Tuesday. The National Meteorological Center said hourly precipitation in Zhengzhou between 4 pm and 5 pm reached 201.9 millimeters.

"This kind of rainfall is usually seen once in 100 years. The situation is grim," a media release from Zhengzhou's flood control headquarters said.

Water levels at 16 large and medium-sized reservoirs have risen above alert levels after torrential rains battered most parts of the province on Monday and Tuesday.

In Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, rescue workers were still scrambling on Tuesday to deal with the aftermath of ruptures at two reservoirs following downpours on Sunday that prompted the evacuation of 3,698 people.

Local authorities mobilized 1,100 rescuers and two aircraft on Tuesday to search affected areas for any people trapped by floods downstream of the reservoirs.

No casualties have been reported.

"Not a single household and not a single person should be left behind," the local flood control headquarters said.

Many areas in northern parts of the country, including northern and western Henan province and northern Hebei province, are forecast to experience torrential rains from Tuesday to Wednesday, the National Meteorological Center said.

Some areas may suffer from severe convective weather, which refers to a sudden and very destructive weather phenomenon that includes thunderstorms, hail, gales and heavy local rainfall, it said, adding that the maximum hourly precipitation in these areas may exceed 70 millimeters.

Separately, China's national observatory upgraded the alert for Typhoon Cempaka, the seventh typhoon this year and the first to make landfall on the Chinese mainland, to orange level on Tuesday, as downpours affected many areas in southern and northern parts of the country.

The typhoon, which gained power on Monday due to the strengthened monsoon from the southwest and high temperatures in the South China Sea, crossed the coast at Yangjiang in Guangdong province at 9:50 pm Tuesday.

Gales caused by Cempaka were forecast to affect a vast stretch of sea and land, including the Qiongzhou Strait and parts of Guangdong and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in the 24 hours from 2 pm Tuesday, the National Meteorological Center said.

The cyclone is expected to dump up to 220 millimeters of rain on coastal areas in the two regions, roughly one-seventh of Guangdong's annual precipitation.

A red typhoon alert was triggered in Yangjiang, Yangxi, Taishan and Zhongshan in Guangdong. China has a four-tier color-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe level, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

According to local authorities, all 384 fishing boats in the area affected by Cempaka had returned to the harbor in Yangjiang by Tuesday.

Some railway passenger services were suspended in western Guangdong and hundreds of flights to and from the airports in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai were also canceled.

Yuan Hui in Hohhot and Xinhua contributed to this story.

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