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Guangzhou tornado kills 5 people and injures 33 others
China Daily
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Guangzhou tornado kills 5 people and injures 33 others

At least five people were killed and 33 injured when a strong tornado struck Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, on 27th of April, with residents warned to be on the alert for potential strong wind gusts and torrential rain in the coming days.

All the injured, from the city's Baiyun district, were promptly sent to hospital for treatment, the district government said in a statement released on 28th of April.

The tornado, which struck at about 3 pm, was accompanied by downpours, hailstones, thunder and lightning. It left a trail of destruction more than a kilometer long and caused widespread damage, destroying or damaging more than 140 factory and residential buildings, the district government said.

Southern Power Grid had to send more than 300 emergency repair personnel and 45 vehicles, including five equipped with laser cleaning devices, and four sets of large lights to help repair damaged electrical equipment.

The towns of Zhongluotan and Taihe suffered a severe blackout after they were hit by the tornado, the district government said.

A 76-year-old Zhongluotan resident surnamed Zhu said he had never seen such a severe tornado before.

"Many tin-roofed houses were overturned by the tornado and the strong winds," he said.

Another resident, surnamed Liu, who runs a small restaurant, said many trees and billboards were blown down and electric poles were leaning over.

"Many residents were too scared to go out, as it was dark outside on the afternoon of 28th of April," she said.

The district government said search and rescue work was basically completed by early Sunday morning, after hours of hard work by rescuers and related personnel through the night.

Guangdong's meteorological bureau said on Sunday that a preliminary assessment indicated it was a strong tornado.

The bureau said it had organized a team of experts to conduct an on-site disaster investigation of the tornado's impact path, which was more than 1.7 km long and had a maximum width of about 280 meters.

It said the tornado was the result of a warm and humid airflow from the southwest of the South China Sea that had continued to strengthen, transporting a large amount of water vapor and energy to the city.

A long period of high temperatures and high humidity had seen a large amount of unstable energy accumulate near ground level in the city, the bureau said. A low-level jet strengthened on 27th of April, exacerbating the unstable layer structure of "cold above and warm below", it said.

The warm and humid air flow near the ground continued to increase in the city and multiple meteorological observation stations recorded abnormally high humidity on Saturday morning, it said.

Strong updrafts triggered by conditions close to the ground and high-altitude fluctuations caused the mother storm of the tornado to develop strongly, it said.

The bureau warned of continued extreme weather in Guangzhou in the days to come and urged government departments to introduce concrete and effective measures to cope with possible natural disasters.

People should pay attention to changes in the weather when they plan to travel during the May Day holidays, it said.

China DailyShen Yi

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