BEIJING, July 22 (AP) -- China's death toll rose Thursday above 400 from the flooding and landslides unleashed by its heavy summer rains, while hundreds of thousands of people were stranded and soldiers helped residents evacuate towns where muddy waters rose up to windowsills.
The government warned that after torrential rains inundated villages in central China and the south, the country's populous northeast would face heavy downpours in coming weeks.
"More disastrous flooding or waterlogging is likely to occur," Zhang Guocai, an official of the China Meteorological Administration, was quoted as saying by the China Daily newspaper.
The latest reported deaths were in southern China, where 10 bodies were found Wednesday in Yunnan province after a mudslide swept through a village, the official Xinhua News Agency said. At least 48 people were still missing.
That raised the reported death toll in flooding, landslides, lightning and other rain-related disasters this season to at least 406.
In central China, flooding killed 12 people and left more than 350,000 people stranded in Hunan province, Xinhua said. It said the province's Dongting Lake, China's biggest body of fresh water, and other reservoirs and lakes were still rising.
Photographs in newspapers and state television showed muddy waters rising up to window sills in Hunan as soldiers helped evacuate residents.
China suffers hundreds of deaths every summer from landslides and flooding caused by seasonal rains.
The toll this year is running at about half the fatality rate of previous summers, Xinhua said, citing deputy director Zhang Zhitong of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters in Beijing.
However, rainfall in the south has been 20 percent to 50 percent above normal levels, Xinhua said. It said some areas have received 259 millimeters (10 inches) of rain since late June.
Storms are expected to dump up to 120 millimeters (four inches) along the Yellow River in northern China and in the northeast, the China Daily quoted Zhang, the meteorological official, as saying.
Earlier this week, local officials were ordered to evacuate people from low-lying areas that might be flooded by the dynamiting of river dikes in order to lower water levels and protect cities.