HomeTop StoriesStorms with typhoon-like winds hit southern China, killing seven

Storms with typhoon-like winds hit southern China, killing seven

BEIJING (Reuters) – Rare storms with typhoon-like winds have killed at least seven people in China’s southern Jiangxi province since the weekend, three of whom were blown from their apartment buildings in their sleep.

The extreme weather, which started on March 31, has flooded nine cities, including Nanchang and Jiujiang. 93,000 people in 54 provinces have been affected, the provincial emergency flood control headquarters in Jiangxi said.

On Sunday, fierce storms led to gusts of wind that tore door-sized windows from their frames in two apartments in a high-rise building in Nanchang, the provincial capital. According to local media reports, three people were pulled from their beds through the holes and fell to their deaths.

Officials said Wednesday that seven people have died in the province so far and 552 people had to be evacuated in an emergency. They also said 2,751 homes were damaged.

Accompanied by dramatic flashes of lightning, pounding rain and hailstones the size of golf balls, the powerful storms – the strongest in more than a decade – also caused economic losses of 150 million yuan ($21 million), local officials said.

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China’s weather agency had warned of strong winds with speeds of up to level 12 on local wind scales, equivalent to a Category I hurricane.

Winds of such intensity are common when typhoons, as hurricanes are called in China and elsewhere in East Asia, make landfall, but are rarely found inland, such as in landlocked Jiangxi.

China’s national weather forecaster maintained its highest warning advisory for severe convective weather conditions (orange) in several parts of southeastern China as strong winds, hail and thunderstorms continue through Wednesday.

The forecaster issued the first orange alert for severe convective weather since 2013 on Tuesday, state media reported.

China has a three-tiered, color-coded weather warning system for severe convective weather, with orange representing the most severe warning, followed by yellow and blue.

($1 = 7.2348 Chinese Yuan Renminbi)

(Reporting by Qiaoyi Li and Bernard Orr; Editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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