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Heaviest Rain In 60 Years Kills 37 In Beijing
The heaviest rainfall to hit China's capital Beijing in six decades has killed 37 people, Chinese state media has reported.
The Beijing city government said on its official microblog that 37 people had died, including 25 drowned, six crushed in collapsing homes, five electrocuted and one struck by lightning.
The Chinese government announced the deaths on Sunday as a rain storm caused widespread chaos - flooding streets and stranding 80,000 people at the city's main airport.
The storm, which started on Saturday afternoon and continued late into the night, flooded major roads and sent torrents of water tumbling down steps into underpasses.
More than 500 flights were cancelled at Beijing's Capital International Airport, the Beijing News said.
But the subway system was largely unaffected, aside from being swamped with people desperate to get home and unable to use cars, buses or taxis.
The city received about 170 millimetres (6.7 inches) of rain on average, while the nearby district of Fangshant to the west of Beijing was hit by 460mm (18.1 inches), Xinhua said.
The Beijing city government said on its website it was working to get the metropolis back on its feet, but reminded people to prepare for further bad weather.
"The weather forecasters say that from late July to early September this city is prone to flooding, and there could be further large-scale storms or extreme weather," it said.
Many residents took to China's popular microblogging site Sina Weibo to post dramatic pictures of the storm.
Some complained the city should have been prepared, especially as the government had issued a severe storm warning the day before.
"It was forecast early on that Beijing would get torrential rain, so why were pumps and other facilities not prepared in time?" complained one user.
But at least one good result came from the storm.
The official pollution index, which had showed an unhealthy rating before the storm hit, registered "excellent" on Sunday, with the air noticeably free of its normal acrid smell.