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The Plum Rain Season

The season of the plum rains(Meiyu in Chinese) or, intermittent drizzle, is a special meteorologic phenomenon of the middle and low reach areas of the Yangtze River, including Zhenjiang City. Usually, the plum rain season starts in the middle of June and ends in early July, lasting for about 20 days.

The climate during this season is characterized by continuous rain and hot temperatures. Precipitation during the rainy season averages about 270mm in Zhenjiang, about one fourth of the annual total. But not all the plum rain seasons have a lot of precipitation. During dry years there is very little rain and sometimes drought. In some years the season brings abundant rainfall, which has sometimes caused disastrous floods.

Due to the rains, the humidity runs between 80 and 90 per cent. At the same time, the air temperature is very high, ranging from 16 to 36 degrees centigrade. The air flows very slowly during this period, which makes the weather stuffy.

Many people do not understand why this uncomfortable season is named after a fruit. The ancient Chinese timed the arrival of the season by the growth of the plum. Usually, the rainy season begins in early summer when the plums are ripe, and lasts about three weeks. There is an old saying about the rainy season: "When the rain falls on the ripe plums, there follows 40 rainy days".