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Natural disasters

China floods and Japan downpour blamed on Indian Ocean hot spot

Stalled high-pressure system leaves seasonal monsoon front stuck in place

Floodwaters are discharged at the Three Gorges Dam in central China's Hubei Province on July 19. (Xinhua via AP)

TOKYO -- The 2020 monsoon season in East Asia that is wreaking havoc in China and Japan can be traced back to a warming hot spot in the Indian Ocean, experts say.

Heavy rains in China have caused historic flooding along the Yangtze and other rivers, killing dozens and straining the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric dam. At least 40 million people -- roughly the populations of Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore combined -- were in flood-affected areas, which include more than 400 smaller rivers and Yangtze tributaries.

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