Four Dead and 10 Missing in Southern China Storms, Thousands Evacuated

Severe storms batter southern China's Guangdong, leaving 4 dead, 10 missing, and over 110,000 evacuated due to widespread flooding. Experts attribute the extreme weather to climate change, highlighting China's challenges in mitigating its impacts.

Nitish Verma
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Deadly Storms Batter Southern China, Forcing Over 110,000 to Evacuate

Deadly Storms Batter Southern China, Forcing Over 110,000 to Evacuate

Severe storms and heavy rainfall have battered southern China's Guangdong province, leaving at least four people dead and 10 others missing. The extreme weather conditions have forced the evacuation of over 110,000 people due to widespread flooding.

The Pearl River Delta region, a densely populated manufacturing hub home to around 127 million people, has been one of the worst-hit areas. Cities like Zhaoqing and Shaoguan have seen intense rainstorms and flooding, with rescuers working to extract residents trapped in the floodwaters. Three deaths were reported in Zhaoqing City, while one rescuer died in Shaoguan City.

The heavy, sustained rainfall has caused rivers to swell, exceeding safety thresholds and posing significant flood dangers. Authorities have warned of floods as high as 5.8 meters above the warning limit striking Pearl River tributaries. The Bei River's water levels have exceeded 50-year highs, with the water flow to the Feilaixia hydropower plant approaching 100-year highs.

Why this matters: The extreme weather events in Guangdong province highlight the growing regularity and severity of storms and flooding in China, which experts attribute to the exacerbation of climate change due to carbon emissions. As the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China faces significant challenges in mitigating the impacts of climate change on its population and economy.

The storms have caused widespread destruction, with 36 houses collapsing and 48 others severely damaged, resulting in direct financial losses of 140.6 million yuan ($19.4 million). Telecommunications services were disrupted in some areas due to landslides, while schools in heavily affected regions have been suspended.

Rescue efforts are ongoing to relocate trapped residents and provide food and other supplies. Over the weekend, more than 300 trains were returned or suspended due to the storms, though all trains are now operating again. Heavy rainfall is expected to continue affecting Guangdong until Tuesday evening, with 100mm to 170mm of rainfall predicted in some southeastern areas of the province.

Guangdong province, which is prone to summer floods, saw its defenses severely tested in June 2022 when it experienced the most intense downpours in six decades. Meteorologists attribute the recent intense and sustained rainfall to a stronger-than-normal subtropical high pressure system, which drew in more moisture-laden air. As the flood-affected areas call for efforts to transfer residents, strengthen monitoring, and issue early warnings, the region braces for the possibility of further heavy flooding in the coming days.

Key Takeaways

  • Severe storms batter Guangdong, China, leaving 4 dead, 10 missing, 110,000 evacuated.
  • Pearl River Delta region, home to 127M, hit hard with intense rain, flooding, and rescues.
  • Rivers swell, exceeding safety limits, with Bei River reaching 50-year highs in water flow.
  • Storms cause widespread destruction, $19.4M in losses, and disrupt telecommunications, schools.
  • Experts attribute extreme weather to climate change, as China faces mitigation challenges.