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A single source reference on tropical weather predictions. With a traditional focus on the upper Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast we've maintained links to track all Atlantic Basin, Caribbean and eastern Pacific storm systems. We are now expanding our view to tropical storms throughout the world intending to be a comprehensive global storm tracking resource.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Flooding in China

Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives is credited with the phrase "All politics are local". I would claim that the same is true for the weather - all weather is local. We might notice bad weather in the news or a severe storm or flood someplace, but until it happens in your town or neighborhood, it does not have the same impact.
 
A good example of this is the number of hurricanes that make landfall. I can recall more than one year where the prediction of a strong hurricane season was met with disbelief - "They say that every year and we don't get hit". People frequently equated a strong tropical season to mean that their area of the coast would be affected. When it wasn't, they felt that the forecast was exaggerated. Many people did not recognize that the forecast covered the entire Atlantic Basin whether the storms made landfall or not.
 
Of course this type of thinking essentially came to an end with the strong 2005 season.
 
Since last year we have expanded from the US Gulf Coast and Atlantic Seaboard to track tropical weather around the globe. As best as we can with the information available, we try to bring up to date information regarding typhoons, cyclones, hurricanes and other tropical weather in other parts of the world.
 
Even so, a tropical storm or hurricane heading for Louisiana stirs a much stronger feeling of concern or dread than a typhoon heading for Hong Kong. It is not that we all as residents of this planet do not care about our neighbors, rather, when it hits closer to home it strikes just a bit harder.
 
I am thinking of this as I sit in the Shanghai Pudong airport in Shanghai, China waiting for a domestic flight to Shenzhen in southeastern China (across the bay from Hong Kong). My flight has been delayed and a wonder how much of it is due to bad weather. The southern third of China has been inundated with very heavy rain and severe flooding. Over 700 people have died due to the flooding. To add to the disaster that this is, Typhoon Chanthu slammed into the south China provinces of Guangdong, Hainan and Guanxi a few days ago. Three deaths have been attributed to Chanthu's strong winds.
 
To make things even worse, the tropical rainstorm that was Chanthu is still dumping heavy rain over the region, adding to the flooding in an already drenched region.
 
Chanthu has lost its typhoon status but remains a serious threat to lives and property as it unleashes flooding rain over southern China and neighboring Vietnam.
 
Chanthu will continue to drop torrential rain over the southern Chinese states of western Guangxi and eastern Yunnan, as well as far northern Vietnam. The rain near the border of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and China is not directly related to Chanthu.
 
Chanthu will then push farther westward across Yunnan on Saturday. Later in the weekend and early next week, the system and its heavy rain will get drawn into the zone of persistent storminess that extends into northern India.
 
Chanthu will unleash several inches of rain across southern China and neighboring parts of northern Vietnam into Saturday. The mountains will endure the heaviest rain totals.
 
The rainfall alone being produced by Chanthu threatens to trigger serious flash flooding and dangerous mudslides. Since Chanthu follows recent rounds of torrential rain, flooding problems will quickly occur and ongoing flooding will worsen.
A week earlier Typhoon Conson slammed into western Hainan and northern Vietnam.
 
Conson and Chanthu added to a continuous pattern of heavy rain that appears to be driven by a strengthening La Nina. Heavy rain and flooding has been occurring over the past month or so in southwestern and central China. Comprehensive coverage has been compiled by China Daily in "China Combats Rainstorms, Floods".
 
The situation is severe enough that China's Premier is stressing that local governments must prepare for continuing and additional flooding using scientific flood control methods to combat the onslaught of water.
 
WUHAN - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has ordered local governments to adopt scientific measures to prepare well for "more serious floods and disasters" as some of the country's major rivers saw water levels surpass their warning levels.
 
Wen said China was at a "crucial stage" for flood control during an inspection tour in central China's Hubei Province that began July 23.
 
The upper reaches of the Yangtze, the nation's longest river, have seen the highest flood peak since 1987, and water levels on its middle and lower reaches were over the warning levels for the first time since 2003.
 
Wen ordered local governments to step up patrols and guard against potential risks to ensure the safety of major rivers, large and medium-sized reservoirs and key infrastructure facilities.
 
He called for the scientific use of major flood control projects including the Three Gorges Dam and the Danjiangkou reservoir to coordinate water volumes in the upper and lower reaches of rivers.

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