SHANGHAI, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Extreme weather conditions are plaguing China with a strengthening tropical storm on the eastern coastline and a prolonged drought in the northwest.
The full force of Meari, still gaining in strength and likely to soon become a typhoon, would be felt in Zhejiang Province as it makes landfall there Saturday evening, according to an alert from the meteorological station of Zhejiang Province.
Meari, heading northward, is forecast to hit Shanghai soon after, with its center about 150 km to the east and out to sea of the city, according to the Shanghai municipal meteorological station.
Shanghai has emptied reservoirs to make room for the water the typhoon is likely to bring, said Zhang Zhengyu, spokesman for the Shanghai Flood Control Headquarters.
Shanghai has inspected subway stations, underground parking lots and other places at risk of flooding to ease concerns heightened by a torrential rain that drenched Beijing and paralyzed parts of the city's transport system on Thursday, Zhang said.
Further north on China's eastern coastline, the storm will unleash heavy rains in cities of Shandong Province from Saturday night to Sunday, the provincial meteorological station said.
Heavy rains Meari brought to Jiangsu Province, which is to the south of Zhejiang, has relieved a drought that had been haunting the province for months.
The water level of Hongze Lake, a major lake in northern Jiangsu, had risen and water supply to a large stretch of dried farmland resumed due to the rains, according to a statement from the provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
While torrential rains have broken severe droughts in the country's southern, central and eastern regions, the vast northwest remains parched.
A prolonged drought in the northwest province of Gansu has disrupted drinking water supplies to more than 2 million people, provincial authorities said Saturday.
In addition, the drought also has disrupted water supplies to more than 1 million head of livestock and about 1.3 million hectares of farmland, according to a statement from Gansu's civil affairs department.
Rainfall in most parts of Gansu had dropped 50 to 80 percent from previous years since the drought began in March, the statement said.
A total of 3.65 million people and 3.47 million head of livestock are short of drinking water in northwest China, according to a statement from the National Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters on Friday.
Drought-hit areas include the autonomous regions of Inner Mongolia and Ningxia and the provinces of Gansu and Shanxi, it said.