Elsewhere in Weather News: May 12th, 2012

China Gets Battered by Torrential Rains

On the afternoon of Thursday May 10th, the north-west part of China (province of Gansu) saw severe thunderstorms roll through its higher elevations and bring with them dangerous hail and downpours that wreaked havoc across the region. With heavy rains being the most threatening hazard in this part of the country because of the mountains and easily-triggered mudslides, around 3,000 residents were evacuated for precautionary measures in the areas most prone to flooding.

Residents evacuating

After heavy rains fell many residents had to be evacuated or rescued as roads were blocked off. (Source: Shanghai Daily)

As the large hail and heavy rain fell, the Minxian County in the province of Gansu was hit the hardest when 70mm of rain fell in about an hour. Mudslides and large hail impacted the county significantly as they destroyed 7,000 acres of farm fields, closed roads leading in and out of the county including a large interstate, and damaged more than 30,000 houses. The mudslides also sent 40 people to hospital, killed 37 others, and the toll may rise as over 20 other residents are still missing. In total, 17 of the 18 townships in the region were affected – this comprises of one fifth of the county’s entire population. China’s flood control headquarters issued more warnings in the same regions on Friday in an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of flash floods and the need to prepare for another possible bout of heavy rains again this weekend. The Red Cross chipped in by donating quilts and coats to the now homeless, and Chinese government pledged $320,000 to fix damaged schools, hospitals and water treatment plants.

Torrential rains

Roads become small creeks as torrential rains fall in the province of Gansu, China. (Source: China.org.cn)

About 3,000 first response workers, still battling with Mother Nature’s wrath, worked fervently around the clock on Friday evening, one day after the storms struck, to find those still missing.