China flooding kills 12, turns streets into rivers

At least 12 people died in severe flooding Tuesday in a Chinese provincial capital that trapped people in subways and schools, washed away vehicles and stranded people in their workplaces overnight.

The already drenched city of Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, was hit by 20 centimeters (8 inches) of rain from 4 to 5 p.m., the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing the Henan weather agency.

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The torrent of rain turned streets into rapidly flowing rivers and inundated subways stations and cars. Videos posted online showed entire neighborhoods covered in waist-deep water and vehicles floating in the muddy mire.

Vehicles are stranded after a heavy downpour in Zhengzhou city, central China's Henan province on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Heavy flooding has hit central China following unusually heavy rains, with the subway system in the city of Zhengzhou inundated with rushing water. (Chinatopix Via AP)

Vehicles are stranded after a heavy downpour in Zhengzhou city, central China’s Henan province on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Heavy flooding has hit central China following unusually heavy rains, with the subway system in the city of Zhengzhou inundated with rushing water. (Chinatopix Via AP)

To the north of Zhengzhou, the famed Shaolin Temple known for its Buddhist monks’ mastery of martial arts was badly hit. Henan province is home to many cultural sites and a major base for industry and agriculture.

Xinhua said 12 people had died and 100,000 people had been moved to safer places.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, staff members set up warning signs with the words "Danger!" at a waterlogged area in Wuzhi County in central China's Henan Province on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. At least a dozen people died in severe flooding Tuesday in a Chinese provincial capital that trapped people in subways and schools, washed away vehicles and stranded people in their workplaces overnight. (Feng Xiaomin/Xinhua via AP)

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, staff members set up warning signs with the words “Danger!” at a waterlogged area in Wuzhi County in central China’s Henan Province on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. At least a dozen people died in severe flooding Tuesday in a Chinese provincial capital that trapped people in subways and schools, washed away vehicles and stranded people in their workplaces overnight. (Feng Xiaomin/Xinhua via AP)

Stranded people were spending the night in their workplaces or checked into hotels.

Wang Guirong, a 56-year-old restaurant manager, said she planned to sleep on the couch in her restaurant after being told there was no power in her neighborhood. The State Grid Zhengzhou Power Supply Co. said a downtown substation was forced to shut down because of the rain.

People move through flood water after a heavy downpour in Zhengzhou city, central China's Henan province on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Heavy flooding has hit central China following unusually heavy rains, with the subway system in the city of Zhengzhou inundated with rushing water and thousands of residents having to be relocated. (Chinatopix Via AP)

People move through flood water after a heavy downpour in Zhengzhou city, central China’s Henan province on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Heavy flooding has hit central China following unusually heavy rains, with the subway system in the city of Zhengzhou inundated with rushing water and thousands of residents having to be relocated. (Chinatopix Via AP)

“I have lived in Zhengzhou all my life and have never seen such a heavy rainstorm as today,” Wang said.

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China experiences regular flooding during the summer, but the growth of cities and conversion of farmland into subdivisions has raised the impact of such events.

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