Floods in southwestern and northwestern China have left at least a dozen dead and put thousands of others at risk, state media have reported.
In the southwestern province of Sichuan, at least six people have died and another 12 are missing after a heavy rainstorm that triggered floods, the state-owned news agency CGTN reported on Sunday.
Around 1,300 people had been evacuated on Saturday, the report states.
Meanwhile, in Longnan city in the northwestern province of Gansu, another six deaths were reported and 3,000 people had been evacuated, state broadcaster CCTV said. The precipitation over 1½ day was as much as 98.9 mm in the worst affected areas, almost double the average in July.
The rain comes in the middle of a heat wave in parts of the country, including eastern Zhejiang province and the city of Shanghai, with temperatures rising as high as 42C (107.6F) last week.
The heat waves are expected to return this week in many parts of China, and last until the end of August, the state’s weather forecast said. Temperatures from 39C to 42C (102.2F-107.6 ° F) are expected in the southern region after July 20, including Jiangxi, Zhejiang and Fujian provinces.
The scorching heat will last for an “extended period” of 40 days, up from the usual 30, the forecaster said on his website.
Experts say such extreme weather events are becoming more likely due to climate change. Warmer air can store more water, leading to larger cloudbursts when released.
The floods are contributing to economic problems caused in part by strict zero-Covid measures that restrict travel and disrupt supply chains.
China is not the only country experiencing extreme weather. Firefighters in Portugal, Spain, France, Greece and Morocco are battling wildfires spanning tens of thousands of hectares as this week’s heat wave continues to bring extreme temperatures and cause hundreds of deaths across southwestern Europe.
This summer’s second heat wave – with temperatures of 47C (116F) in Portugal and 45C in Spain – has triggered forest fires that have forced the evacuation of thousands of people.
In the UK, the first ever red warning for exceptional heat has come into force, with temperatures expected to climb up to 41C (105.8F) over the next two days, breaking the country’s heat records.
In Germany, low water levels in the Rhine due to drought have disrupted the supply chain for goods into the country. Heat waves have also hit the southern United States.
The Associated Press contributed to this report