Heaviest rains in 60 years kill 10 in Beijing

The heaviest rain storm in six decades to
hit the Chinese capital killed at least 10
people and caused widespread chaos,
flooding streets and stranding 80,000
people at the city’s main airport, state
media reported on Sunday.
The storm, which started on Saturday afternoon
and continued late into the night, flooded major
roads and sent torrents of water tumbling down
steps into underpasses.
In the Beijing suburb of Tongzhou, two people
died in a roof collapse and another person killed
was struck by lightning, the official Xinhua news
agency reported.
Other deaths were caused by electric shocks
from downed power lines and drowning, it
added, without giving an exact breakdown.
More than 500 flights were cancelled at Beijing’s
Capital International Airport, the Beijing News
However, the subway system was largely
unaffected, aside from being swamped with
people desperate to get home and unable to use
cars, buses or taxis.
The city received about 170 millimetres (6.7
inches) of rain on average, though a township in
Fangshan District to Beijing’s west was hit by
460mm (18.1 inches), Xinhua said.
The Beijing city government said on its website
(www.beijing.gov.cn) it was working to get the
metropolis back on its feet, but reminded people
to prepare for further bad weather.
“The weather forecasters say that from late July
to early September this city is prone to flooding,
and there could be further large-scale storms or
extreme weather,” it said.
Many residents took to China’s popular micro
blogging site Sina Weibo to post dramatic
pictures of the storm. Some complained the city
should have been prepared, especially as the
government had issued a severe storm warning
the day before.
“It was forecast early on that Beijing would get
torrential rain, so why were pumps and other
facilities not prepared in time?” complained one
But at least one good result came from the
The official pollution index, which had showed
an unhealthy rating before the storm hit,
registered “excellent” on Sunday, with the air
noticeably free of its normal acrid smell.

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