WUHAN, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- A third air force freighter is to attempt to bring two showers during the coming week to Hubei Province, which is suffering from a devastating drought, said a local meteorological officer Wednesday.
Xu Yonghe, Hubei Weather Modification Office's chief engineer, was equipping the An-26 freighter with artificial rain enhancement facilities at Yangluo Airport in Wuhan City when the reporter spoke to him. The freighter arrived from south China's Guangzhou City on Tuesday evening.
Xu said the facilities included cloud-seeding equipments and a GPS system. The plan is to create a shower between Feb. 12 and 14,and another between Feb. 15 and 17. "They could increase rainfall by 10 to 20 percent."
China, the world's biggest grain producer, is experiencing the worst drought in five decades. As of Monday, the drought has hit about 136 million mu (9.1 million hectares) of winter wheat in eight major producing provinces, and has left 3.5 million people and 1.66 million livestock with no access to drinking water.
A major winter wheat producer in China, Anhui has suffered from drought and a freeze-up since October. The province issued a red alert against drought, the highest level for such a warning on Feb. 1, and 81 percent, or 28.7 million mu of its wheat crops was affected as of Feb. 6.
China employed artificial means to create rain in at least seven provinces Saturday, and two An-26 freighters successfully created moderate rainfall Sunday in Henan's northwest and Anhui's north, covering more than 100,000 square kilometers.