Floods in central China kill 25

Monday, July 26, 2021

Flooding on a street in Zhengzhou University
Image: Sxr369.
Flooding in Zhengzhou on July 20.
Image: Walter Grassroot.

Floods in Henan province in central China have left at least 25 people dead, and about 200,000 people have been evacuated as of Wednesday, with soldiers leading rescue efforts. The flooding caused landslides and the provincial capital Zhengzhou's metro system and roads were inundated with water.

Passengers of the Zhengzhou Metro posted videos of water up to their neck while clinging to handrails. At least twelve people were killed in the metro, with five more being injured, and more than 500 were rescued.

Among the dead were also four people in Gongyi who died from houses and walls collapsing, with more than 20,000 forced to leave their homes. Nine thousand hectares of crops were also damaged, causing US$11.3 million worth of damage.

There have been storms and torrential rain in Henan province since July 17. According to the National Meteorological Center of CMA, 622.7 mm (24.51 in) of rain fell in 24 hours, far surpassing the 24-hour threshold of 250 mm (9.84 in) considered extremely heavy rainfall. From Saturday to Tuesday, 617.1 mm (25.30 in) of rain fell in Zhengzhou, almost the equivalent of its annual average of 640.8 mm (25.23 in).

There are several reasons for the downpour. First, Typhoon In-fa is approaching Fujian province in southeast China, causing large amounts of water vapor to be pushed inland. Second, the Taihang and Funiu Mountains cause water vapor to converge and go up, causing large amounts of relief rain.

According to Zhang Ning, chief weather broadcaster of the Henan Meteorological Service, the torrential rain would continue until Wednesday night. From July 22 to July 26 there are forecasted dispersed thunderstorms, but no large amounts of precipitation.