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Downpour bypasses Beijing, batters neighbor

TIANJIN, July 27 — A much expected downpour bypassed Beijing Wednesday but battered the neighboring city of Tianjin, flooding many downtown streets and vehicles.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, the maximum precipitation had exceeded 300 millimeters, Tianjin's meteorological center said in a press release.

It said the city proper received an average rainfall of 147 mm, while the outer Xiqing district, one of the worst-hit areas, received 309.8 mm.

Four people suffered from electric shock due to the flood and are receiving treatment at hospital, according to the Tianjin Emergency Medical Center.

The local fire prevention bureau sent 190 fire engines and 1,140 rescuers to help rescue vehicles and pedestrians stranded by flooding.

The rain had largely stopped by midday, but the center issued another orange alert at 11:10 a.m., warning residents of another rainstorm.

A shower or thundershower is expected to hit Tianjin on Thursday night and torrential rain is expected to hit the city on Friday night, bringing estimated precipitation of 40 mm to 70 mm, said Zhao Gang, chief forecaster of the Tianjin Municipal Meteorological Bureau.

The downpour flooded many roads, paralyzing traffic in downtown Tianjin. Dozens of vehicles were stranded on Baidi road in Nankai district after their engines died in the flood.

Many pedestrians complained they had to trek in knee-deep water. In some sections of Xianyang Street, flood water was waist deep.

On the badly- flooded Friendship Road in Hexi district, five workers kept watch next to sewage wells where manholes had been removed for faster drainage.

The rain disrupted air traffic at Tianjin Binhai International Airport, where 20 flights were canceled and 34 delayed.

The first flight, an incoming flight from Shanghai, landed in Tianjin after the rain subsided at 11:32 a.m., and the first departing flight took off at 12:08 p.m., according to the airport's official website.

China's capital Beijing was on guard against heavy rain Wednesday, fearing a repeat of Saturday's mayhem.

Saturday's downpour, which the local weather bureau described as the "heaviest in 61 years," killed 77 people, including some who drowned in private cars.

Chinese Civil Affairs Minister Li Liguo led a State Council disaster relief work team consisting of officials from 12 state ministries and departments to Beijing's worst-hit Fangshan district on Thursday to check the situation and console local residents. (PNA/Xinhua)

LOR/rsm

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