Sichuan Province, which sits on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, on Monday (Aug. 17) braced for some of the worst flooding seen in over 70 years, likely to bring the “No. 5 Flood” downstream to the beleaguered Three Gorges Dam.
After the “No. 4 Flood” of the year passed through the Three Gorges Dam on Saturday (Aug. 15), the Changjiang Water Resources Commission (CWRC) issued an orange flood warning for the Jialing River and its tributary Fu River on the upper reaches of the Yangtze in Sichuan Province on Sunday (Aug. 16). It predicted that the latest bout of flooding will likely form the “No. 5 Flood” of the year and could come only two or three days after the previous one.
The peak of the No. 4 flood on the Yangtze River passed through the Three Gorges Reservoir at around 8 a.m. on the 15th. The water inflow reached 62,000 cubic meters per second, which was higher than the previous three floods this year.
Flooding reported in Sichuan on Aug. 16. (CCTV screenshot)
According to local Sichuan media reports, the province has seen a new round of torrential rainfall since Aug. 10. During this period, the local meteorological bureau in Sichuan issued an orange rainstorm warning on two consecutive days for the first time this year.
The rainstorm covered 12 per cent of Sichuan Province, causing 41 rivers in the territory to exceed the warning level. Of these, 22 rivers exceeded the so-called safe level (保證水位), which is currently set at twice the level of floodwaters seen during the flood season last year.
Authorities predict that the flood will peak on Monday afternoon. It is estimated that the water level of Chengdu’s Jintang County, which is located on the upper reaches of the Tuo River, will exceed the “safe level” by 3.85 meters and maximum peak discharge will climb to 8,200 cubic meters per second, setting a new record since the founding of communist China 71 years ago.
Judging from the historical records of the Jintang Sanhuangmiao Hydrological Station since 1949, the highest flow rate recorded was 8,100 cubic meters per second in 1981. If it reaches 8,200 cubic meters per second this time, it means that the flood peak will set an all-time record, reported news.sina.com.
Neijiang City’s Zizhong County on the middle reaches of Tuojiang River is also expected to face the peak of the flooding at 4:00 p.m. The Tuo River has overflowed the local dike, and more than half of Guidezhen has been flooded.
In response, local authorities have evacuated more than 3,000 people, half of the local population. At present, the road leading to Guidezhen has been flooded, and the town has become an island.
It is predicted that as water levels continue to rise, three-quarters of the town could become inundated.
Local media reported that the dike in the Mingtai reservoir area of Xindezhen in Mianyang City’s Santai County was in danger early Monday morning. The local water resources agency quickly evacuated more than 5,000 people from the area.