The heaviest rainfall in 61 years fell on the Chinese capital city of Beijing on July 21, 2012. Heavy rain started in the afternoon and continued through the evening, TIME reported. The state news agency Xinhua reported that rainfall over Beijing averaged 170 millimeters (almost 7 inches), and reached 460 millimeters (18 inches) in the city’s Fangshan District.
This color-coded image shows rainfall totals from July 21 and 22, 2012. The heaviest rainfall—more than 175 millimeters (7 inches)—appears in dark blue. The lightest rainfall—less than 25 millimeters or 1 inch—appears in light green. Trace amounts of rain appear in yellow. Some of the heaviest rainfall occurs around Beijing.
This image is based on data from the Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis produced at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, which estimates rainfall by combining measurements from many satellites and calibrating them using rainfall measurements from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite.
Because this image is an estimate of the rainfall recorded over a very large area when the satellites are overhead, it may miss pockets of heavy rain in smaller areas, or short periods of more or less intense rain. As a result, local rainfall totals measured from the ground may differ from the estimate shown here.
As of July 23, the Beijing flood death toll stood and 37, Xinhua reported. Deaths resulted from drownings, collapsed buildings, lightning, and electrocutions from downed power lines, news reports said. In mountainous areas outside the city, more than 30,000 residents had to evacuate in case of landslides.
- BBC. (2012, July 23) Beijing chaos after record floods in Chinese capital. Accessed July 23, 2012.
- Ramzy, A. (2012, July 22) Flash floods swamp Chinese capital, killing 37. TIME. Accessed July 23, 2012.
- Xinhua. (2012, July 23) Heaviest rain in 6 decades leaves 37 dead in Beijing. Accessed July 23, 2012.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using data from the TRMM Science Data and Information System at Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Michon Scott.
- TRMM - MPA