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Yunnan sees heavy rainfall mitigate drought conditions

By Li Menghan | | Updated: 2024-05-12 13:58
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A moderate to heavy rainfall in the central and eastern regions of Yunnan province from May 5 through May 10 has mitigated drought conditions and reduced the risk of forest fires.

"The heavy rainfall has greatly alleviated the previous drought and water shortage conditions in Yunnan," said Yang Xiaopeng, a senior engineer at the provincial climate center, adding that the rainfall is beneficial for crops such as corn, rice and tobacco.

Due to the rainfall, the proportion of moderate to severe meteorologically drought-prone areas in the entire province decreased from 60 percent to 28 percent. The proportion of severely drought-prone areas decreased from 40.8 percent to 10.4 percent, according to the provincial meteorological department.

The department added that there has also been a significant improvement in soil moisture conditions and a notable decrease in the risk level for forest and grassland fires.

"This round of precipitation is the first widespread and effective rainfall in Yunnan since the onset of the rainy season in May this year," said Yang Suyu, chief forecaster at the provincial meteorological center, adding that 66.5 percent of meteorological stations across the province recorded rainfall exceeding 10 millimeters during this process.

Situated in the Asian monsoon climate zone, the province has long been plagued by drought conditions because of the uneven distribution of precipitation.

Before the rainy season last year, the province experienced the most severe drought conditions since 1961, registering an annual average precipitation of merely 887.2 mm. This marked a 178-mm, or 16.7-percent, decrease compared to the usual volume for a typical year.

Since the beginning of this year, Yunnan has experienced consecutive winter and spring droughts, with precipitation consistently falling below average. As of May 4, the province's precipitation was 36.7 percent lower compared to the same period in a typical year.

Despite the heavy rainfall, there are still 35 meteorological stations in Yunnan province reporting moderate to severe droughts. Areas in Kunming, the province's capital city, Lijiang, Pu'er, and the Honghe Hani and Yi autonomous prefectures are still facing extreme drought conditions.

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