No heavy rain for quake zone in 10 days

Updated: 2008-05-30 20:47

BEIJING - The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) predicted on Friday there would be no heavy rain in regions worst hit by the May 12 earthquake in the next 10 days.

"There will be no heavy rain or rainstorms in Sichuan Province and the southern parts of Gansu and Shaanxi provinces in the next 10 days," said Zhai Panmao, deputy director of the Prediction and Disaster Mitigation Department of the CMA.

"Total precipitation in most parts of these quake-hit regions in the next 10 days will be between 15 and 25 millimeters, while some areas are forecast to have 30 to 45 millimeters of rain," he told reporters.

These regions are forecast to receive rain around Sunday and then again on June 5-6, Zhai said.

Daily highs in those areas are not expected to exceed 35 degrees Celsius.

Zhai reminded the many people living in tents in those regions it was likely to be hotter inside their makeshift shelters than at the meteorological stations.

The southwestern Sichuan Province was rocked by a devastating 8.0-magnitude earthquake earlier this month that also caused severe damage to several neighboring provinces, including Gansu and Shaanxi.

In the wake of the earthquake, landslides created 34 swelling lakes in Sichuan alone, with 28 still at risk of rupturing, according to the relief headquarters of the Ministry of Water Resources.

The largest, and of most concern, is Tangjiashan Lake, which is feared to burst and threaten the lives of some 1.3 million people living downstream.

Jin Ronghua, deputy director of the National Weather Forecast Center under the CMA, said the forecast rainfall around June 1 was not heavy enough to bring about serious consequences and add to the threats of "quake lakes" by significantly raising their water levels.

"The rainfall might increase water levels slightly. But we have thousands of workers who are working around the clock to divert water and minimize threats of these barrier lakes," Jin told reporters.

In addition, Zhai said China reported some abnormal weather conditions this spring in both temperature and precipitation. The average temperature in the country since the beginning of this year stood at 11.2 degrees Celsius, which was the highest during this period since 1951.

Northern China, including the northeast, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Henan Province, registered a notable increase in average temperature, rising by two to four degrees Celsius, Zhai said.

In terms of rainfall, he said China had recorded an average precipitation of 124.1 millimeters so far this year, down from the same period in the previous years.

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