Beijing, China — Beijing experienced its worst rains in over 60 years, and the resulting floods have killed at least 37 people and stranded 80,000 at the Chinese capital’s main airport, according to both state media and the government.
Yahoo News reports that the storm began on Saturday afternoon and continued on through much of the night. It flooded major roads, sending torrents of water down steps and into underpasses.
Of the dead, 25 have drowned, six were crushed in collapsing houses, five were electrocuted, and one was struck by lightning. The Beijing News added that more than 500 flights have been cancelled at Beijing’s Capital International Airport.
The city received an average of 6.7 inches of rain, with one township in Fangshan District west of Beijing being hit by 18.1 inches. On the Beijing city government’s website, the city noted that they are working to get the metropolis back on its feet, but also warned people to prepare for more bad weather. It stated:
“The weather forecasters say that from late July to early September this city is prone to flooding, and there could be further large-scale storms or extreme weather.”
According to The Hindu, the rains have triggered a huge cleanup operation, which will require the government to drain over 1 million cubic meters of water from Beijing’s streets. Meanwhile, residents of China’s capital took to Sina Weibo, the country’s Twitter alternative, to post pictures of submerged cars, and also to vent their anger at city authorities for their poor drainage systems, which appeared to help little during this weekends torrential rains.
The Beijing rains was the most discussed topic with more than 5 million posts from the website’s 300 million users. One user complained that city officials were completely unprepared, despite having fair warning of the coming weather. The user wrote:
“It was forecast early on that Beijing would get torrential rain, so why were pumps and other facilities not prepared in time?”