Guangdong braces for once-in-50-year flood peak as torrential rain persists

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21st April 2024 – (Guangzhou) Guangdong province in southern China has been experiencing continuous heavy rainfall since the 18th of April. Earlier reports from provincial authorities indicated that the Beijiang River Basin would face a once-in-50-year flood peak. However, the latest update from the Guangdong Provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters on the afternoon of the 21st reveals that the region will now confront a near-centennial flood event due to the impact of intense precipitation.

According to China Central Television (CCTV), the Ministry of Water Resources has raised the emergency response level for flood defence in Guangdong province to Level III. Three additional working groups have been urgently dispatched to the frontlines of flood prevention in Guangdong to provide assistance and guidance. The National Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters has also raised the emergency response level for flood defence in Guangdong to Level III. Meanwhile, the Pearl River Flood Control Headquarters has elevated its emergency response level to Level II, and the Pearl River Commission has synchronised its flood defence emergency response to Level II.

From 8am on April 20th to 8am on 21st April, torrential to heavy rain has been concentrated in the central and northern parts of Guangdong province, particularly in cities such as Zhaoqing, Shaoguan, Qingyuan, and Jiangmen. As of 8am on the 21st, 27 hydrological stations across Guangdong have exceeded the warning levels. It is projected that on the 21st, the Hejiang River in the Xijiang River Basin and the Lianjiang, Suijiang, and Wengjiang rivers in the Beijiang River Basin will experience a flood peak water level that occurs once every fifty years, indicating a critical flood prevention situation.

Furthermore, the Guangdong Provincial Hydrology Bureau has forecasted that the Beijiang River Basin will encounter a flood event close to a once-in-a-century occurrence. At 11am on the 21st, the water level at the Lianjiang Gaodao (Angba) station in Xinyi Town, Yingde City, reached 34.83 meters, with a corresponding flow rate of 7,070 cubic meters per second, surpassing the warning level by 3.33 meters. It is expected that by 1am on the 22nd, the Gaodao (Angba) station will experience a peak flow rate of 9,000 cubic meters per second, reaching a once-in-a-century level, with a water level of 37.3 meters, surpassing the warning level by 5.8 meters.

At 11am on the 21st, the flow rate at the Feilaixia hydrological station was recorded at 16,300 cubic meters per second, corresponding to a water level of 21.02 meters, exceeding the warning level by 3.02 meters (warning level set at 18 meters). It is anticipated that the Feilaixia hydrological station will reach a peak flow rate of 19,000 cubic meters per second on the afternoon of the 22nd, nearing a once-in-a-century level, with a water level of 22.3 meters, surpassing the warning level by 4.3 meters.

As of 11 a.m. on the 21st, the water level at the Shijiao station on the mainstream of the Beijiang River in Shijiao Town, Qingcheng District, rose to 10.02 meters, with a corresponding flow rate of 15,300 cubic meters per second. It is expected that by 8pm on the 22nd, the flow rate at this station will reach a peak of 19,500 cubic meters per second, nearing a once-in-a-century level, with a water level of 12.5 meters, surpassing the warning level by 1.5 meters.