Buildings in Beijing's Guomao area are enshrouded by rain clouds on Thursday afternoon. Shen Gang/China Daily
Beijing municipal authorities warned the public on Thursday that the regional storm that is expected to continue until Saturday may still pose dangers and suggested that people avoid rural and mountain areas if possible.
Cai Qi, the capital's Party chief, visited the city's flood control and drought relief headquarters on Wednesday night as the storm settled in. All departments should be prepared for this round of storms to ensure people's safety and the city's order, Cai said.
The Beijing Meteorological Service said the heavy rain will affect the Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei area as it sweeps from west to east. The strongest rain is expected to hit Beijing on Thursday night.
Wang Jing, a meteorologist at weather.com.cn, a national weather website, said the rain will be sustained but decentralized.
To ensure the safety of tourists, 174 scenic spots in Beijing were closed temporarily and will reopen as weather allows.
The Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism said tourists should not go to rivers, mountains or campsites because of the chance of geological movement.
More staff members have been placed on standby status by the Municipal Commission of Transport, and emergency vehicles are ready for service, it said.
It also shifted subway operations from autopilot to manual drive, increased the number of buses and prepared for longer working hours.
By 2 pm on Thursday, Beijing Capital International Airport had canceled 366 flights because of thunderstorms. It expected the storms would clear by around 3 am on Friday.
China's national weather observatory continued its alert for rainstorms on Thursday morning, as heavy precipitation is expected across the country over the next few days.
On Friday, heavy rain is expected in parts of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, as well as in Hebei and Shandong provinces and in Beijing and Tianjin, with precipitation of up to 120 millimeters, according to the National Meteorological Center.
The center warned local authorities to reduce outdoor activities and take precautions against strong winds, flooding and geological disasters.