Hundreds of flights cancelled and schools shut ahead as Beijing faces biggest storm the year

·2-min read
A man uses his bag as cover during a storm in Beijing  (Getty Images)
A man uses his bag as cover during a storm in Beijing (Getty Images)

Entire Beijing has come to a standstill as China’s capital city faces the worst torrential storm of the year, with hundreds of flights cancelled and schools and tourist sites shut.

The city’s authorities have issued a stay-at-home order for everyone in the city on Monday, as extremely heavy rainfall continues along with gale-force winds.

The weather department had issued a warning for “extreme rainstorms” and thunder over the weekend from late Sunday to Monday evening for Beijing and neighbouring areas.

According to Global Times, from 6 pm Sunday to 12 pm Monday, the capital city Beijing received an average of 80.1 mm of rainfall and a maximum of 177.6 mm. As much as 100 millimeters of rain was predicted through the day in some areas.

According to aviation tracker VariFlight, some 700 flights were recorded cancelled at the city’s two airports, Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing Daxing International Airport, as the storm continues. Around 462 flights were also adjusted on Monday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

A landslide was also 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 also shut down on Monday. Warnings were also issued for companies to either stagger the commute of their employees to work or let them work from home.

Popular attractions including a part of the Great Wall were also closed for visitors, with some districts suspending rural homestays. All outdoor sports, cultural and commercial activities in Beijing have been suspended from Sunday night, according to Global Times.

Some of Beijing’s self-driving trains will be operated manually instead, AFP reported quoting state media.

Rainstorms also hit neighboring Tianjin city, where state TV showed electric scooters driving through flooded streets and black skies lit up by regular flashes of lightning. Other provinces also encountered different degrees of heavy rainfall.

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 the 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.

Since last week, several areas in China have witnessed heavy rainfalls with thousands of people relocated, causing substantial economic losses, according to state media reports.

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