Tornado kills 5 people in Guangzhou, Chinese city hit by recent rains

A tornado ripped through southern China’s economic hub Guangzhou on Saturday, killing five people and damaging numerous factory buildings.

The tornado struck around 3 p.m. and hit the Baiyun district on the city’s northern outskirts, injuring another 33 people. the local government said. It lasted about 4 minutes. Hail about 2 inches in diameter also fell in parts of the city.

Video shared by official Chinese media showed power towers and power lines. ignite And debris swirling in the air against the backdrop of a huge funnel that darkened the mid-afternoon sky.

Guangzhou, a vast city of 19 million people and a hub for manufacturing and technology, was hit by heavy spring rains this month. Floods across Guangdong province, of which Guangzhou is the capital, had already forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate last week.

The Guangzhou government said a flow of warm, humid air from the South China Sea had accumulated “a large amount of unstable energy” near the ground.

Officials said a total of 141 factory buildings were damaged by the tornado and recent rains. Wind speeds reached a maximum of about 76 miles per hour.

Search and rescue operations were concluded by Saturday evening, state media said. But officials warned that heavy rain, strong winds and lightning are likely to continue in Guangzhou over the next few days as China prepares for a five-day Labor Day holiday starting Wednesday.

One video The document, shared by the Guangzhou government, warned residents not to go outside in heavy hail or to wear helmets if unavoidable.

The brown waters of the Pearl River flow through the center of Guangzhou, much of which is in very low-lying areas and has a long history of flooding.

The city has undertaken extensive efforts over the past few decades to become more resilient to the flooding that has long been associated with the heavy rains that arrive each late spring.

In recent years, local government regulations have required new apartment buildings to have shops, rather than apartments, on the ground floor. The goal is to minimize the risk to human life during floods.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited Guangzhou earlier this month during an official visit to China. The city recently hosted a major trade fair, the Canton Fair.

keith bradshire Contribute to the report amy chan chien Research contributed

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