Beijing and other cities braced for severe flooding on Friday as summer storms rolled across many parts of China, while inland regions baked in intense heat, threatening to shrink the country’s biggest freshwater lake.

Wild weather swings have gripped China since April, causing deaths, damaging infrastructure and wilting crops as well as raising fears of its ability to cope with climate change.

Historically, China enters its peak rainy season in late July, but extreme weather has made storms more intense and unpredictable, exposing heavily built-up megacities with poor or insufficient drainage to potentially deadly floods.

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