This year's flood season-stretching from May to September-is predicted to be worse than average, with more heat waves and typhoons, a meteorological expert said on Friday.
Zhou Bing, an expert with China Meteorological Administration's National Climate Center, said at a news conference that rainfall during the flood season will be unevenly distributed, with the northern and southern parts of China projected to receive heavier precipitation.
"Floods will be more serious than droughts this year," he said, adding that temperatures across the country are expected to be higher than average.
In parts of central and southern China including Jiangsu, Anhui and Hubei provinces, heat waves might occur, Zhou said.
From Jan 1 to March 27, the temperature was the second highest since 1961, an increase of 1.6 C on average over the same period in previous years.
He added that more typhoons are predicted to be generated in the northwestern Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea, and to then make landfall in China.
"It is thus important to step up comprehensive defense against a range of weather disasters including heavy rains, flooding, typhoon, heat waves and strong convection,"Zhou said. He added that the administration will also hold more consultations to update their predictions based on new observations.
According to Zhou, large swathes of South China began entering the initial period of the flood season on Wednesday after the southwest Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region reported torrential rainfall.
The onset of flood season this year-March 25-was 12 days ahead of the average date of April 6 and was the second earliest in history, he added.
Liu Lihua, a senior official with the Ministry of Agriculture, said at the conference that heat and humidity will cause crop diseases of more severe conditions than last year.
Liu said rising temperatures have allowed wheat stripe rust to spread across about 866,000 hectares in nine provinces, the hardest it had hit over the past decade.
"Heavier rainfall expected in April and May in areas along the Yangtze River and Huaihe River may lead to wheat scab disease on a wide scale," she said, adding that the ministry has taken precautionary measures in response.
The ministry has allocated 1.4 billion yuan ($197 million) to prevent and control crop diseases and reports of major illnesses will be made public.