Tens of thousands of people fled their homes in Beijing after Typhoon Doksuri, one of the strongest storms in years, dumped torrential rain across China and left at least four dead, as forecasters warned another hurricane-level storm was on its way.
Like much of the world, China is reeling from extreme weather events this summer. Heat waves scorched China earlier than usual this year while records have been set worldwide for global temperatures, ocean heat and the loss of sea ice.
Doksuri hurtled into the southeastern coastal province of Fujian late last week, weakening as it carved its way north but bringing huge amounts of rain to at least five northern Chinese provinces since Saturday.
More than 31,000 people were evacuated from the Chinese capital as of Sunday night, state broadcaster CCTV reported. Another half million people in the Fujian were forced to evacuate from flooding, state news agency Xinhua reported.
Xinhua reported two deaths from the storm in Beijing as of Monday, while another two fatalities were recorded in northeastern Liaoning province, according to CCTV.
The precipitation in Beijing could break records as nearly 40 inches of rain is projected to pour over the southwestern parts of the capital and neighboring Hebei province, according to the China Meteorological Administration on Monday.
Heavy downpours are expected to continue through Tuesday, increasing concerns about dangerous flooding and landslides.
On Monday, nine districts of Beijing were under a red rainstorm alert, the highest in the country’s warning mechanism, while the weather signal was downgraded to the second-highest level in other parts. At least 95 other weather warnings were issued across the country.
The intense downpours prompted the temporary closure of several railroads and highways in the capital, while schools also remained closed and people were told to stay indoors.
Doksuri is the most powerful typhoon to make landfall in China and the strongest storm to hit Fujian since Typhoon Saomi in 2006, according to CNN Weather based on preliminary information. The closest and most powerful storm to pass near Beijing was Rita in 1972.
Before hitting Fujian it had killed at least 39 people in the Philippines and lashed parts of southern Taiwan.
The rains inundated large swathes of farmland and homes in Fujian, causing nearly $60 million ($428 million yuan) in direct economic losses, Xinhua reported. More than 6,333 hectares of farmland in Fujian were damaged and over 151 hectares suffered complete crop failure, the state media outlet said.
Source : CNN