Long-awaited rain eases drought in central, southern China

10:25, June 05, 2011      

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Farmer Zhang Xibei plants sweet potato seedlings in rain in Chengzi Township of Jiujiang County, east China's Jiangxi Province, June 4, 2011. Jiangxi has received rainfalls since Friday, and will see heavier rains in the next days, according to weather report. The rainfalls will greatly ease the drought the area has suffered for months. (Xinhua/Wei Dongsheng)

Most of the drought-hit cities in central and southern China embraced moderate to heavy rain Saturday, bringing hope to end the worst drought in six decades in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.

In the central Hubei Province, 28 cities and counties received rain Friday and Saturday, the weather bureau in the provincial capital Wuhan said.

On Friday, Xianning City received the largest volume of precipitation, totaling 163.4 mm, it said.

The rain is expected to last until Monday.

Experts with the provincial meteorological bureau predicted the rain will ease drought in the northern and northwestern parts of Hubei, but the drought may persist in the eastern parts of the province.

"It needs more rainfall to drench the 1.25 million hectares of thirsty cropland, which has received no rain since November," the bureau said in a press release.

The bureau said it is ready to create artificial rain and boost precipitation before the rain stops.

The neighboring Hunan Province is also expecting heavy rain from Saturday night to Monday.

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