After cloud-seeding activities in China’s Chongqing, experts warn of possible floods

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After cloud seeding activities were carried out to bring precipitation, some parts of China’s Chongqing welcomed long-awaited rains recently, but experts warned that the city and the region should prepare for possible flooding and landslides.

Reeling under the severe heatwaves and drought, some parts of Chongqing city in southern China welcomed the long-awaited rain as the southwestern municipality has endured brutally hot temperatures this summer for several straight days.

China Daily reported that neighbouring Sichuan province also witnessed rainfall in some regions. The National Meteorological Center of the country forecasted heavy rains in most parts of Sichuan and Chongqing in the next 10 days.

It forecasted five to eight rainy days, with precipitation 40-100 percent higher than normal for the time of year, with isolated areas receiving twice as much.

Therefore, residents in affected areas should prepare for flooding and landslide risks since the ongoing dry spell has left caked hillsides less able to absorb fast-moving waters.

As per Zhang Yan of Chongqing’s meteorological bureau, the city’s ongoing heat wave is expected to ease, with daily highs in most parts of the municipality struggling to reach 35 °C and widespread rainfall forecast. “The city should prepare for the upcoming downpours,” China Daily quoted him as saying.

The world’s second-largest economy has been hit by record temperatures, flash floods, and droughts this summer, phenomena that scientists have warned are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change. The recent heatwave and drought on the Chinese mainland have severely affected the agriculture sector, putting the harvest under “severe threat”.

The Agriculture Ministry of China said that the ongoing heat wave is the worst China has seen since records began more than 60 years ago. Southern China, in particular, has recorded its longest sustained period of high temperatures and sparse rain. The rice farmers of China have been worst hit by the recent drought and heatwave situation. The water levels across China are so low that some inland river shipping routes are no longer safe, adding that “a lot of agricultural commodities that are imported pass through these shipping routes, which will now be extended by five days, which will push up business costs.” Chongqing and Sichuan have also been battling wildfires since last week, exacerbated by high temperatures and water scarcity. The meteorological administration said that the high temperatures have basically been alleviated in the regions of south China, Jiangxi, and Anhui.

In rural Sichuan and Chongqing, the villagers are facing a scarcity of drinking and agricultural water. The increased demand for water forced them to take more water from the rivers for irrigation. Due to this, China’s largest river, the Yangtze, has completely dried up in many places. Its size has also been reduced considerably.

Apart from this, 66 other rivers have also completely dried up. The national meteorological service renewed its warnings for drought and high temperatures on Tuesday, calling for 11 provincial governments to “activate” emergency responses. To overcome this ongoing situation, Chongqings Wansheng district on Friday carried out cloud seeding activities to bring the region’s long-awaited precipitation, unseen since August 7. Rainfall was also prompted by seeding in other districts, including Banan and Qijiang.

The China Daily reported that “the heat and drought conditions in Chongqings 22 districts and counties have been slightly alleviated since Thursday after Chongqing conducted enhanced mass cloud seeding operations,” the Chongqing Meteorological Bureau said at a news conference on Friday. “The city is seeking more opportunities to artificially induce precipitation,” the bureau said.
 

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