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2 dozen dead as downpours strike southern China; Little relief expected for rest of June

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
June 14, 2019, 11:19:17 AM EDT

At least 24 people are dead with others missing after yet another round of heavy rain struck southern China. More downpours threaten to exacerbate the flooding situation across the region through the remainder of the month.

An estimated 2.2 million people have been affected by the onslaught of heavy rain and flooding that commenced last Thursday, according to UPI.

The flooding has damaged about 146,100 hectares (360,000 acres) of farmland and 6,000 buildings.

On Wednesday, the death toll in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region rose to 17, with nine others missing, according to Xinhua. Those victims are in addition to the seven deaths reported on Tuesday in neighboring Guangdong Province.

The deadly flooding and onslaught of downpours is the result of the Mei-yu front being displaced from its normal position.

China flooding June 12

A rescue worker crosses a river on a rope to flood-affected villages in Heyuan, Guangdong province, China, on June 11, 2019. (REUTERS/Stringer)

The Mei-yu front is a semi-stationary boundary that is draped across southeastern Asia from late spring through the summer and is notorious for triggering torrential rainfall.

"Normally, this front is located farther to the north this time of year, approaching the Yangtze River Valley," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls.

Even when the front is in its normal position, downpours would still occur across southern China, just not at the same frequency as what has been inundating the region recently.

A weather observation site in Fogang in Guangdong reported 117 mm (4.61 inches) in the 24 hours ending on Thursday morning.

A total of 416.6 mm (16.40 inches) of rain inundated Guilin, located in northern Guangxi Province, from June 6 to 11.

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The Mei-yu front will continue to advance to the north much slower than normal, according to Nicholls.

"Most of southeastern China may welcome much-needed drier weather Saturday before downpours quickly return Sunday and Monday (local time)," he said.

Bouts of heavy rain can continue to target the region through the remainder of the month, exacerbating the flooding and putting more lives and property at risk.

China downpours June 12

"Places near the coast may notice a decrease in the downpours later in the month, but we do not see that drying trend spreading to interior parts of Guangxi and Guangdong provinces and northward to Guizhou, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces this June," said Nicholls.

On the other hand, places around the Yangtze River will stay drier than normal.

"The front may not lift northward and allow the East Asia monsoon to commence in these areas until early July," Nicholls said.

Until that time, below-normal rainfall and surges of heat can lead to building drought and affect the region's soybeans, wheat and corn crops.

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