Guangzhou battles force 10 winds as floods hit 34 rivers in Guangdong, Shenzhen on yellow alert, train services suspended

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21st April 2024 – (Guangzhou) Guangdong is once again under the grip of severe weather as a squall line brings torrential rains across the region, with forecasts predicting extreme conditions to persist over the next two days, 21st and 22nd April. The provincial meteorological bureaus have issued multiple warnings, elevating emergency responses to cope with the anticipated weather disruptions.

In Guangzhou, the squall’s influence has triggered a Level III emergency response for heavy rain and a Level IV for thunderstorms, with gusts reaching up to force 10. Early this morning, the Guangzhou Meteorological Bureau issued an orange alert for thunderstorms and strong winds for Yuexiu and Tianhe districts, following the detection of significant gusts in upstream areas. The forecast suggests that in the next one to two hours, these districts could experience up to 40-60 millimeters of rainfall, accompanied by force 10 winds, severe thunderstorms, and potential hailstorms.

Similarly, Shenzhen is facing its own challenges with the Shenzhen Meteorological Bureau issuing a yellow alert for heavy rainfall at 9.05am local time. The warning, focused on districts including Nanshan, Futian, Bao’an, Guangming, and Longhua, anticipates approximately 40 millimetres of rain within the next two hours. At 9.48am, the bureau also issued a city-wide yellow alert for lightning, highlighting the risk of flash floods and landslides in the affected areas.

Yesterday, the squall line had already impacted parts of Guangdong, with Zijin and Longchuan sounding orange alerts for thunderstorms. Between 9am and 3pm, 21 towns recorded heavy downpours, with Yuecheng Town in Zhaoqing’s Deqing County receiving a staggering 144.5 millimetres of rain.

The Guangdong Provincial Meteorological Bureau projects that today, northern Guangdong and parts of the Pearl River Delta will witness heavy to torrential rains, with some areas expecting extreme rainfall. Eastern Guangdong and the Leizhou Peninsula are likely to see moderate to heavy showers. The rest of the province is forecasted to experience heavy showers with possible extreme conditions. Tomorrow, these conditions are expected to continue with similar patterns anticipated.

Meanwhile, today the National Meteorological Centre continued to issue an orange alert for severe rainstorms and a yellow alert for strong convective weather in Guangdong, where persistent heavy rains have led to flooding in 34 rivers. The Beijiang River experienced its second significant flood of the year on the evening of 20th April, prompting an upgrade to Level II emergency flood response. Due to the intense rainfall, China Railway Guangzhou Group announced that before noon on Sunday, trains traveling on the Jingguang Railway through Shaoguan will remain suspended or will turn back, and some trains on the Jingjiu Railway will be halted from 10am to 6pm.

Moreover, areas such as Nanshan, Futian, Bao’an, Guangming, Longhua districts of Shenzhen, as well as the Pearl River Estuary and Shenzhen Bay, are expected to receive around 40mm of rainfall on Sunday morning. The Shenzhen Meteorological Observatory issued a yellow rainstorm warning at 9.05am, placing the entire city on rainstorm alert. These areas are at risk of flash floods; authorities are cautioning residents about potential localised flooding and landslides. In response, Guangzhou’s Meteorological Disaster Emergency Command has activated a Level III emergency response for heavy rain and a Level IV response for thunderstorms and strong winds, with orange alerts for thunderstorms and strong winds issued in Yuexiu, Liwan, Tianhe, Panyu, and Zengcheng districts.

As of last Friday, 19th April, the cumulative rainfall for April in the central and northern parts of Guangdong has already broken historical records for the same period. By the morning of 20th April, Shaoguan had received a total of 584.4mm of rainfall for the month, significantly surpassing the record for total April rainfall. Hydrological and meteorological monitoring indicated that last Saturday’s rainfall was concentrated in Zhaoqing, Foshan, and Yunfu, with 428 stations recording more than 100mm and 1,730 stations over 50mm. Across the province, 47 hydrological stations reported flooding above warning levels. Further strong rainfall is expected in the northern parts of Guangdong and the northern Pearl River Delta on Monday and Tuesday.

The torrential rains have caused flooding and mudslides in several areas, including Zhaoqing and Shaoguan, prompting rescue teams to evacuate trapped residents. In Qingyuan, water levels continue to rise; as of last Saturday, Yingde had preemptively evacuated at least 1,963 people, and Feilai Gorge Town in Qingcheng District evacuated 119 people.