China prepares for summer floods

China is preparing for a season of severe flooding, with 71 rivers already exceeding permissible levels.

According to the Ministry of Water Resources, parts of central and southern China have seen record rainfall in recent weeks, even though the total rainfall this year is about 10 percent less than last year.

Water levels in the Yangtze and its tributaries are expected to rise further next week, the ministry said, and warned of the possibility of major flooding across the country from June through August.

Some monitoring stations have sounded the alarm: water levels on a stretch of the Yangtze River in central China’s Wuhan City are more than two meters above normal for this time of year as a result of heavy rainfall upstream.

Last summer, rainfall reached the second highest level since 1961, triggering flood warnings on major rivers and lakes and bringing the water level in the giant Three Gorges Dam close to its maximum.

For all of last year, rainfall nationwide was nearly 700 millimeters, 10.3 percent above average and 7.6 percent more than a year earlier, with rainfall doubling in parts of central and northeastern China.

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