Days of torrential rain in central China's Hunan Province raised the water level of the Xiangjiang River, a major tributary of the Yangtze River, to exceed its record flood level on the morning of July 2.
The water level in the section of the river in Changsha, capital of Hunan, reached 39.21 meters at 6:30 a.m., higher than the previous record of 39.18 meters set by a massive flood in 1998.
Already at 3.2 meters above the warning level, the water level is expected to continue to rise as heavy rain is forecast for upstream regions over the next few days.
As of 2 p.m., the water level had risen by another 0.21 meters to 39.42 meters, according to Changsha flood control office.
Local authorities issued a red alert Sunday afternoon, warning that water levels along the whole course of the Xiangjiang River are forecast to be near or above record levels during the next three days.
Meanwhile, the water levels in Dongting Lake and several other major rivers in Hunan have all risen above warning levels, worsening the flood control situation.
Currently Changsha is on high alert with workers inspecting every 50 meters of the dikes to guard against potential breaches.
Hundreds of officials and residents in Yuhua district worked overnight Saturday building a wall of 65,000 sandbags to block water from flowing into the city area.
Meanwhile, more than 1,000 workers in Tianxin district were reinforcing dikes and pumping water to manage potential flood threats.
More than 2,000 paramilitary police have joined locals to repair damaged dikes and helped evacuate over 7,000 residents in cities of Shaoyang, Yiyang, and Huaihua.
Hunan has experienced severe flooding after ongoing torrential rain over the last 10 days. Since June 22, flooding has inundated parts of several cities, forced 311,300 people to evacuate, damaged 295,160 hectares of crops and destroyed 6,369 houses.
Rainstorms lashed 832 towns in southern and eastern Hunan from Saturday morning to Sunday morning, with Huangtang in Ningyuan County receiving the most precipitation at 264.2 mm within 24 hours.
The water flow from the Three Gorges Reservoir was reduced to 12,700 cubic meters per second Sunday afternoon to reduce the flood pressure downstream.
A rain-triggered mudslide that hit a village in Hunan's Ningxiang County Saturday afternoon has left five people dead, four missing and injured 19 others.
Many parts of the county received over 200 mm of precipitation within 24 hours, with flooding disrupting traffic and telecommunications and raising water levels in reservoirs and rivers above warning levels.
In neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, flooding disrupted railway services with 45 trains canceled, returned to origin or detoured.
The latest round of torrential rain since Saturday has affected more than 230,000 people in 20 counties and districts in Guangxi, left two people dead and one missing.
The National Meteorological Center issued a blue alert for rainstorms at 6 p.m. Sunday, forecasting heavy rain for many parts of east and south China within the next day. The southern coastal regions of Guangxi are expected to receive precipitation of up to 180 mm in 24 hours.
(Xinhua News Agency July 2, 2017)