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Flights cancelled, schools closed as Beijing hit by storm

Weather authorities warned of “extreme rainstorms” plus thunder and lightning from late Sunday to Monday evening in Beijing and neighbouring areas.

July 12, 2021 09:03 am | Updated 09:03 am IST - Beijing

Workers clear flooded water on a street amid heavy rainfall during morning rush hour in Beijing’s Central Business District (CBD), China, July 12, 2021.

Workers clear flooded water on a street amid heavy rainfall during morning rush hour in Beijing’s Central Business District (CBD), China, July 12, 2021.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled in Beijing as schools and tourist sites were shut due to torrential downpours and gale-force winds on July 12.

City authorities issued warnings to residents to stay home as the Chinese capital faced its biggest storm this year.

As much as 100 millimetres of rain is predicted through the day in some areas, and aviation tracker VariFlight recorded some 700 flights cancelled at the city’s two airports.

Weather authorities warned of “extreme rainstorms” plus thunder and lightning from late Sunday to Monday evening in Beijing and neighbouring areas.

A landslide was recorded in one of the city’s northern districts, with state broadcaster CCTV showing pictures of a road blocked by fallen rocks. Heavy rain was holding up efforts to clear the road, according to state TV.

Children stayed home as the city’s kindergartens, primary and secondary schools closed July 12.

Popular attractions including a part of the Great Wall were also shut, with some districts suspending rural homestays.

Some of Beijing’s automatic driving trains will be operated manually instead, state media said.

Rainstorms also hit neighbouring Tianjin city, where state TV showed electric scooters driving through flooded streets and black skies lit up by regular flashes of lightning.

Weather authorities have warned of floods in 14 rivers, including tributaries in Sichuan and Shaanxi.

Floods are common during China’s rainy season, with higher water levels in August last year washing away roads and forcing tens of thousands from their homes.

But the threat has worsened over the decades, due in part to widespread construction of dams and levees that have cut connections between the river and adjacent lakes and floodplains that had helped absorb the summer surge.

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