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People walk in a flooded underpass during a heavy rainfall in Beijing, China, July 20, 2016. China Daily/via REUTERS

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Persistent heavy rain on Wednesday caused widespread disruption in the Chinese capital, Beijing, forcing the delay and cancellation of hundreds of flights and the closure of some subway stations.

Beijing's steamy summer months are often marked by dramatic rainstorms, one of which in 2012 killed 37 people.

At a meeting of the top government body, the Politburo standing committee, President Xi Jinping urged officials to be prepared for rescue work and flood control efforts as China is in its flood season, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The Beijing city government issued an orange alert, the second highest in China's four-tier warning system, over the rain, and warned it could continue overnight, with a total of 100 mm (3.9 inches) of rain expected in some areas.

More than 200 flights were cancelled at Beijing's main international airport, and a handful of subway stations shut, the government said.

Pictures on social media showed cars making their way slowly through flooded streets in parts of the city.

Some high speed rail services were also delayed, the rail authority said.

There were no reports of any casualties.

Large parts of central and eastern China have been inundated with rain this summer, killing more than 200 people.

Since Monday, 13 people have been killed and 62 have gone missing amid rains in north and northwest China, Xinhua said.

(Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Additional reporting by Jake Spring; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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