Why has Shanxi suffered from heavy rains, flooding and geological disasters?

Since the beginning of October, most parts of north China's Shanxi Province have seen extremely heavy rainfall.

From October 2 to 7, Shanxi experienced the strongest autumn precipitation ever recorded. The average precipitation in the province reached 119.5 millimeters and the average precipitation in provincial capital Taiyuan was 185.6 millimeters. In the cities of Jinzhong and Linfen, the precipitation exceeded 200 millimeters. 

However, the average monthly rainfall in October had been 31.1 millimeters, according to Shanxi Meteorological Bureau. 

The heavy rains started at 11 p.m. on October 2 and lasted for four days.

Flash floods and geological disasters followed because of the heavy rainfall. 

According to the provincial emergency management department, 1.76 million people in the province were affected, with 120,100 people urgently transferred and settled. In addition, 1899.7 square kilometers of crops were affected, 19,500 houses collapsed, 18,200 houses were seriously damaged, and the direct economic losses reached 5.02 billion yuan ($770 million).

What's behind the abnormally heavy rainfall?

According to China Meteorological Administration, the stable circulation pattern of high in the east and low in the west was formed in Shanxi, which was conducive to long-term precipitation. 

The water vapor from the South China Sea and the Bay of Bengal is continuously transported to the central and southern parts of Shanxi, providing an abundant water vapor source for continuous precipitation.

Also, the topography of Shanxi, such as the complex topography of Luliang Mountain and Taihang Mountain, played a role in the precipitation.

After nearly 90 hours, Shanxi Meteorological Bureau lifted the level 4 emergency response on October 7.

Influenced by moderate to strong cold air, there will be strong wind and cooling weather, accompanied by weak precipitation, in most areas of Shanxi Province from the night of October 13 to October 17, according to Wang Wenyi said, deputy director of Shanxi Meteorological Bureau.

(Images via VCG)

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