Rain pelts Beijing for fourth day, northern cities on disaster alert

BEIJING (Reuters) – Relentless rain stretched into a fourth day in Beijing and nearby cities on Tuesday after a typhoon brought northern China non-stop precipitation and widespread flooding.

Rivers have swollen to dangerous levels, prompting Beijing to use a flood storage reservoir for the first time since it was built 25 years ago. As of Monday night, China’s capital city had sealed off over 100 mountain roads and evacuated more than 52,000 people from their homes.

Doksuri, one of the strongest storms to hit China in years, weakened as it rolled inland, but authorities warned that risks of further floods and other geological disasters remained.

Localised thunderstorms and strong winds were forecast for Beijing on Tuesday, as well as for neighbouring city Tianjin and Hebei province, state broadcaster CCTV said.

Several subway lines in the capital, including trains in western suburbs, were suspended on Tuesday. Beijing’s Mentougou district in the west saw dramatic damage a day before, after torrential rains turned roads into rivers, sweeping cars away.

Beijing recorded an average of 260mm (10.2 inches) of rainfall from Saturday to early Monday, with the Changping Wangjiayuan Reservoir logging the largest reading at 738.3mm (29 inches).

The city government said the rainfall over the past few days has exceeded records from a severe storm 11 year ago. In July 2012, Beijing was hit by the strongest storm since the founding of modern China, with the city receiving 190.3mm of rain in one day, affecting more than 1.6 million people.

South of Beijing, in Hebei province, precipitation from Saturday to Monday at one local weather station totalled more than the amount normally seen over half a year, with rainfall amounting to 1,003mm (3.3 feet) for the three-day period. Precipitation in the county where the station is located averages 605mm a year.

Hebei authorities have opened flood storage and diversion areas to manage flooding risks in the Hai river basin, where five rivers converge in a region nearly the size of Britain.

Doksuri swept through coastal Fujian last week, taking a 14.76 billion yuan ($2.06 billion) direct economic toll on the southeastern province and affecting almost 2.7 million people, with close to 562,000 evacuated from homes and more than 18,000 houses destroyed, state media reported.

($1 = 7.1669 yuan)

(Reporting by Liz Lee, Ryan Woo and Shanghai newsroom; Editing by Tom Hogue)

source: yahoo.com