Despite reports of some relief to drought conditions in the south and central regions of the country, officials in Heilongjiang in the northeast say drought has affected a vast area in a province that grows 10% of China’s grain. Nearly 2 million hectares of farmland have been affected by a lack of rain, according to the province’s agricultural commission, with the situation in three counties describes as “very severe”.
Meanwhile, cloud seeding is being undertaken on a large scale in Hubei in central China in an effort to create artificial rain to lift the drought there. Cloud seeding has also been undertaken above the grasslands of Inner Mongolia and in Jiangxi, Liaoning and Ningxia Hui where drought also lingers.
Weather forecasters say the La Nina cooling of the Pacific that is the cause of the arid conditions is likely to continue to block rain from moving into China’s wheat-growing region through mid-May. What little rain there is in the forecast will only mitigate conditions modestly.
The effects of drought in northern and eastern China also continues to keep water levels in the Yangtze River at 50-year lows, with parts now impassable to some shipping.