Video posted online showed people on top of an almost submerged bus in a rushing river flowing over a nearby bridge outside the city of Shijiazhuang, about 265 kilometers (165 miles) southwest of heavy rains.
Authorities in Hebei province said in a social media post that 37 of the 51 people on the bus had been rescued.
In neighboring Shanxi province to the west, more than 120,000 people had been evacuated as thousands of houses collapsed and 190,000 hectares (470,000 acres) of crops were damaged, the official Xinhua News Agency said Sunday.
The heavy rains in Shanxi, normally a dry region, damaged a 25-meter (80-foot) section of a wall in the historic town of Pingyao, a UNESCO world heritage site, Xinhua said. Continuous rain is the biggest threat to the city’s ancient clay structures, the state news agency said.