Guangdong storms cause power outage for 1.16 million homes, major flooding anticipated in Beijiang River

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22nd April 2024 – (Guangzhou) In recent days, the Guangdong province has experienced a relentless deluge, receiving rainfall amounts between 200 and 488 millimetres since last Friday, causing widespread disruption, including power outages affecting approximately 1.16 million households, of which nearly 80% have been restored.

The intense rainfall has led to significant flooding, particularly in the Beijiang River area, where forecasts predict potentially the worst flood in a century. As a precaution, navigation has been suspended in parts of the Beijiang and Dongjiang rivers, and cities including Qingyuan and Guangzhou have initiated flood discharge procedures.

As of Monday morning, several airports in the region, including Guangzhou Baiyun and Shenzhen Bao’an, have had to cancel a number of flights due to the adverse weather conditions. The death toll from the storms has risen to three, with another 11 individuals reported missing. Direct economic losses are estimated to exceed 1.4 billion yuan.

The National Meteorological Centre issued a yellow alert for heavy rain and a blue alert for severe convective weather on Monday morning. While the range of intense rainfall in southern China is expected to decrease, precipitation will not cease entirely. Over the next three days, parts of southern Guangdong and southeastern Fujian are anticipated to continue experiencing heavy rains, accompanied by severe thunderstorms, strong winds, or even hail, with wind speeds possibly exceeding force 11 on the Beaufort scale.

Local authorities in Shaoguan and Qingyuan have reported severe flooding, prompting the provincial disaster reduction committee to activate a level IV emergency response. In Qingyuan, over 60,000 residents have been evacuated, particularly in the heavily impacted town of Yingde, where streets are submerged up to the first floor of buildings.

The Beijiang River is expected to reach a peak flow rate of 19,500 cubic metres per second by Monday evening, significantly increasing the risk of mountain torrents and flooding in small to medium-sized rivers. Consequently, the Guangdong Maritime Safety Administration has implemented traffic control measures along the affected waterways, prohibiting all vessel operations in certain areas and enforcing one-way navigation restrictions in others.

Despite these challenges, the China Railway Guangzhou Group announced that rail services, disrupted by the rains, have been fully restored as of Monday. Last week’s severe weather affected several key rail lines, including the Beijing-Guangzhou and Beijing-Kowloon lines, resulting in the suspension and rerouting of 305 train services. To manage the situation, the railway group has added extra high-speed trains and adjusted service routes to facilitate nearly 35,000 passengers’ travel amidst these adverse conditions.