The deadliest storm in China’s 140-year history has moved north-east of China near the border with Russia and North Korea after battering the capital Beijing and lashing cities around an area the size of Britain. The storm was strong enough in the end even though it had traveled so far.
Why has the highest rainfall in Beijing in 140 years?
The amount of rainfall since Saturday has broken many local records in Beijing and northern China, with the vast Haihe River basin experiencing its worst flooding from the storm since 1963.
A reservoir in Beijing’s Changping district received 744.8 mm of rain between Saturday and Wednesday, the heaviest rainfall recorded in the city in more than 140 years. A weather station in Hebei province recorded 1003 mm of rain from Saturday to Monday. This amount of rainfall is usually seen once in a year and a half.
What causes extreme and prolonged rainfall?
As Doksuri’s rain clouds move northward, a subtropical and continental high pressure system in the atmosphere blocks their passage, leading to continuous mixing of water vapor that acts like a water storage dam, meteorologists said.
A large amount of vapor accumulated in northern China moved the precipitation east of the Taihang Mountains. The worst-hit areas are mainly located in Beijing’s Fangshan and Mentugu districts.
Meanwhile, Typhoon Khanun was gathering strength in the western Pacific, and as it approached the coast of China, Doksuri’s weak circulation fed a large amount of moisture. The interaction of the two typhoons caused the circulation to increase as rainfall increased, causing the storm’s impact to increase and intensify, Chinese meteorologists told media.
How harmful was the rain?
Hundreds of streets flooded in urban areas of Beijing. Hundreds of flights were either delayed or cancelled. The impact was more visible in the western suburbs of the city. Heavy water rushed down the road, washing away cars. Villages in mountainous areas have been isolated, with authorities being asked to deploy helicopters to cut off food, water and emergency supplies.
Zhuozhou, a city of more than 600,000 people southwest of Beijing, was almost half submerged. It has affected about 1 lakh 34 thousand residents. As a result, one-sixth of the city’s population was evacuated.
Have similar incidents happened in the past?
Rain of such intensity and duration after a typhoon is unusual in northern and northeastern China. According to state media, the Chinese capital has observed just 12 cases of typhoon-triggered rain since authorities began keeping records.
Typhoons Haitang and Ampil, both in 2017 and 2018, brought 100 mm of rain to Beijing. In 1956, Typhoon Wanda brought more than 400 millimeters of rain to the densely populated city.