La Niña delivers rain of the century

Sunday, June 29, 2008
Issue 389, Page 3
Word count: 430
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The most rain ever recorded in a single month has fallen from the sky in the last four weeks with 1,190mm recorded as at 5pm in Macau yesterday.

According to the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) duty forecaster, the “unusual” amount of rain that broke the record of 892.9mm calculated in June between 1901 and 2007 may be attributed to a La Niña effect.

La Niña, as SMG defines, produces the opposite climate variation of El Niño and causes dramatic changes in the upper-level air currents that play a major role in storm development.

The SMG forecaster also told the Macau Daily Times Southern China’s rainy period is usually between April and June, in which May is the month when rainfall reaches the peak.

However, this “peak” came one month later this year which the forecaster said was due to “a normal movement of the meteorological system”.

As well, typhoon Fengshen that hit the SAR between June 23 and June 25 added 180 mm to the month’s rain gauge.

Yesterday, the highest hourly rainfall was 23.6mm between 3pm and 4pm and the torrential rain resulted in the fourth rainstorm warning being issued this month, according to SMG.

As at 5pm yesterday, the weather bureau recorded total rainfall of 89mm.

The storm yesterday also caused a boulder weighing nearly 20 tons to slide down a 10 metre hillside at about 7am, crushing a motorbike parked opposite a petrol station in Avenida do Dr Rodrigo Rodrigues, Nape.

No injuries resulted but traffic was temporarily affected when the public works department was called to clear the scene.

The weather bureau forecasts heavy rains and occasional thunderstorms will continue today. The rain should ease on Tuesday with a “partially” sunny day predicted.

Although tropical storm Fengshen did not cause any casualties in Macau, the Chinese state media said yesterday the typhoon killed nine people as it tore across China’s south, pounding the densely populated area with torrential rains.

Fengshen, which means “God of Wind”, made rivers swell in most parts of Guangdong province, China’s industrial powerhouse, after it made landfall in the middle of the week, Xinhua news agency said.

The strong rain affected about 340,000 people, destroyed more than 1,200 houses and inundated more than 1.6 million acres of crops, a provincial flood control headquarters spokesman said, according to Xinhua.

As of late Friday, Fengshen had moved northward, entering into east China’s Jiangxi province while gradually losing some of its ferocity.

Fengshen killed hundreds of people in the Philippines while categorised as a typhoon, before it took a surprise turn towards southern China.

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