Beijing soaked in heaviest rainfall in decade, on highest alert

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Beijing authorities and residents have been on high alert on Sunday for potential city inundation and flooding and debris flows in suburban areas after a rare red alert for extreme weather was issued in the Chinese capital on Saturday.

The red alert, the highest in China’s four-tier warning system, was the first of its kind in nearly 12 years. It warned of heavy rainstorms that could bring up to 300 millimeters (12 inches) of rainfall in some areas.

The average rainfall in Beijing from Saturday to Sunday reached 212 millimeters (8.3 inches), the highest since 2012 when a record-breaking downpour killed 79 people and caused widespread damage.

The heavy rain caused traffic disruptions, flight cancellations, and power outages in some parts of the city. More than 10,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas and temporary shelters were set up in schools and stadiums.

The Beijing municipal government said it had mobilized more than 13,000 emergency workers and 1,800 vehicles to deal with the rainstorm. It also deployed additional inspectors to supervise flood control work and halted water transport.

The government said it had learned lessons from the 2012 disaster and improved its emergency response system. It urged residents to stay indoors, avoid unnecessary travel and follow official instructions.

The rainstorm also affected other parts of northern China, including Hebei, Shanxi, and Inner Mongolia. The National Meteorological Center said the rainfall was caused by a convergence of warm and cold air currents.

The extreme weather came amid a series of climate-related disasters across Asia this summer, including heatwaves, floods, and landslides in Japan, South Korea, China, and India.

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