China creates artificial rain in drought-hit provinces

February 8th, 2009 - 7:15 pm ICT by IANS  

ShaanBeijing, Feb 8 (Xinhua) China employed artificial means to cause rainfall in seven provinces Saturday to ease drought, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said Sunday.
Weather-control officials fired 2,392 artillery shells and launched 409 rockets in 127 cloud-seeding operations by 10 p.m. Saturday, according to a statement on the CMA website.

“Rain-enhancing practices” were adopted in drought-hit provincial regions in Henan, Gansu, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Hubei and Anhui, it said.

Parts of the these provinces and north China’s Hebei province saw one to five millimetres of rain from Saturday to Sunday morning, the National Meteorological Centre (NMC) reported.

In central China’s Henan province, artificial precipitation caused an average 0.5 mm of rainfall in 17 counties and cities. The province, a major wheat-producing area, is suffering the worst drought in half a century.

Parts of Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, Anhui and Hubei will see thick clouds during Sunday daytime, favourable for more rain-inducing measures, said the CMA.

The NMC forecast rain and snow Sunday and Monday in parts of northwest, southwest and central China.

China has declared the highest level of emergency in response to the drought that affected most parts of northern China beginning from November.

The drought has affected 10.7 million hectares of crops, 4.37 million people and 2.1 million heads of livestock across the country.

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