Notably, Poyang Lake, Donting Lake, and other wetlands along the Yangtze River were unusually low in March. If water levels had been closer to normal in the spring, the damages from the summer flooding likely would have been far more severe. However, the damages from China’s 2016 floods have already topped more than $22 billion (U.S.), according to the International Disasters Database. That makes the floods the second most expensive natural disaster in China, and the fifth most expensive disaster on record outside of the United States, noted Weather Underground meteorologists Jeff Masters and Bob Henson.
In late May, Poyang Lake is an assortment of small, isolated water bodies. One month later, the water bodies have merged into a swollen lake. Meanwhile, Dongting Lake has multiplied in area.