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Heavy rain drenches southwest China, some cities flooded

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BEIJING (Reuters) – Non-stop heavy rain lashed parts of southwest China on Friday, triggering floods in some cities, engulfing roads and partially submerging buildings.

A particularly harsh first bout of summer rains known locally as “dragon boat water” saw the city of Beihai in the Guangxi region log 453 millimetres (17.8 inches) of precipitation on Thursday. That was a regional daily record for June, according to the China Meteorological Administration.

Cars were half underwater in flooded Beihai streets, and at one multi-storey building water cascaded down a staircase as firefighters raced to rescue its residents, videos circulating on social media showed.

Ferries from Beihai to nearby Weizhou island will be fully suspended between June 10-12, broadcaster CCTV reported, adding strong winds and continuous heavy rain will hit the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of South China.

The nearby city of Yulin, west of Guangdong province, had had 35 hours of rain as of 7 a.m. on Friday (2300 GMT Thursday), CCTV reported.

Villages and towns in the area were inundated by flood waters, the province’s firefighting department reported, adding over 100 people were evacuated.

Rain is forecast to continue in southern China over the coming days while the northeast is expected to be hit by sudden thunderstorms, the weather bureau reported.

China, prone to floods, is increasingly warning of more extreme weather due to climate change. Guangxi was hit by a rare extreme drought in May, with rainfall plunging to 60-year lows.

The central province of Henan, the granary of China, was recently struck by heavy rain that caused crops to sprout or be hit by blight, triggering concerns about food security.

(Reporting by Ella Cao and Ryan Woo; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Kim Coghill)

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