20 dead and 27 missing after lethal downpour in Beijing

Days of unprecedented heavy downpours around Beijing, China’s capital, have triggered massive flooding and landslides, leaving at least 20 people dead and 27 missing. Authorities have deemed it the heaviest deluge in a decade, as the remnants of Typhoon Doksuri batter the area. 

Two days of intense rain prompted the city to close tourist attractions and mass evacuate residents. The worst effects were felt in the city’s outskirts, “where downpours overwhelmed riverbeds that usually stay dry for much of the year,” The New York Times reported. 

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In Beijing, at least 11 people died, and 27 others were reported missing, per state broadcaster CCTV. An additional nine deaths were reported in the Hebei province just outside the city. Overall, the “sprawling megacity” saw “an entire month’s worth of rainfall over 48 hours — an average 175.7 millimeters (nearly 7 inches),” per CNN Weather. In the western district where most of the deaths were reported, “the downpours were far worse,” CNN added. 

The storms are “marked by their long duration, large accumulative rainfall and high dangers of disaster,” Fang Chong, a senior forecaster with China’s Central Meteorological Observatory, told Xinhua, a state-run news agency. The deadly rain was caused by moist air that was pushed to the north by the recent typhoon, according to meteorologists in the area. The capital issued a “red alert” warning for residents in the most impacted districts to stay indoors. 

While it’s not abnormal for China to experience typhoons and heavy rainfall during the summer, experts warn that the frequency and severity of the annual rain season have been worsened by climate change, CNN reported.  

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