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China urged to guard against El Nino

BEIJING, Aug. 10 — A top meteorological official has urged authorities to guard against extreme weather in China during the coming months, as unusually warm ocean temperatures caused by El Nino will impact seasonal weather patterns, state media reported Friday.

China has been under the influence of El Nino since July and will continue to feel its effects into the fall, China National Radio quoted Zheng Guoguang, director of the China Meteorological Administration, as saying.

Under El Nino, heavy rains are likely to hit the middle and eastern parts of China this August, according to Zheng, who called for strengthened flood control efforts in the Haihe River Basin in north China and along the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow and Yangtze rivers.

Local authorities in areas south of the Yangtze River should also take precautions against summer droughts and arid weather, Zheng said.

Lower-than-average rainfall and higher temperatures will appear in the fall, except in the northern parts of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and the northeastern provinces, said Zheng.

Zheng said El Nino is not to blame for the recent typhoons and will actually lead to weaker typhoon activity after the autumn season.

Typhoon Haikui, which made landfall in the coastal province of Zhejiang at 3:20 a.m. Wednesday, has brought heavy downpours to east China and left three people dead as of Thursday.

It was the third typhoon to wallop China's eastern coast in a week, after storms Saola and Damrey hit the region over last weekend.

El Nino, characterized by an abnormal warming of the sea surface in the Equatorial Pacific, can cause exceptionally heavy rainfall in some parts of the globe and extreme droughts in others.

El Nino conditions occur every two to seven years, with stronger events generally occurring every 10 to 15 years. El Nino is believed to have played a major role in weather changes that caused devastating deluges in China in 1998. (PNA/Xinhua)

LOR/utb

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