Authority: Prepare for spring floods

Updated: 2015-12-23 07:56

By Xu Wei(China Daily)

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South China could experience large-scale spring flooding next year as a result of a strong El Nino, according to the country's flood-control authority.

The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said in a statement on Tuesday that parts of China south of the Yangtze River could receive more precipitation than normal next spring, resulting in floods.

"A preliminary analysis shows that the flood and drought situation will be more severe than this year. ... There could be significant flooding in some rivers and severe floods in some regions," the authority said.

El Nino, a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific basin, has already reached the scale of a strong El Nino, the authority said.

The phenomenon will also disrupt typhoon patterns, it said. Typhoons that hit land will be stronger and affect areas farther inland areas.

The situation this year has been similar to 1997, a year in which conditions aligned to cause flooding in the following year, the authority said.

El Nino was blamed in 1998 for massive flooding along the Yangtze, Songhua and Nenjiang rivers, events that claimed thousands of lives. In the Yangtze River Basin areas, flooding continued for months. The area experienced more than 70 days of torrential rainfall.

Authority: Prepare for spring floods

Chen Lei, deputy commander-in-chief of the authority and minister of water resources, said El Nino conditions are still developing, and he urged water authorities nationwide to estimate its potential impact on individual areas.

He also warned of the risks of floods caused by melting ice in North and Northeast China, especially in the Yellow, Songhua and Nenjiang rivers.

The prevention of floods from streams and medium-sized rivers, as well as the potential effects on urban areas, should be prioritized to prevent casualties, he said.

Floods nationwide are responsible for the deaths of 315 people and the disappearance of another 76 this year, with a total of 74.6 million people affected by floods, according to the headquarters.

Of the 391 dead or missing due to flooding, 85 were buried by landslides and 144 were killed in floods of small and medium-sized rivers, it said.

(China Daily 12/23/2015 page5)