Southern China braced for second battering by storms

More hail, high winds and heavy rain due after thousands of homes are destroyed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 March, 2013, 4:45am

Most parts of southern China should expect another round of downpours, thunderstorms and gusty winds, the country's weather forecaster said yesterday, with hailstorms also possible in several areas.

The National Meteorological Centre forecast that the storms, which could arrive as early as late last night, would be the most severe so far this year.

South China had already experienced four big storms this month, with the most serious witnessed last Tuesday and Wednesday, it said.

Nine people died and 272 were injured when a thunderstorm and hailstorm packing winds of up to 176.8km/h hit Dongguan on Wednesday afternoon.

The centre said storms will lash the Pearl River Delta and northern Guangdong, eastern Guizhou, southern Hunan and Jiangxi and northern Guangxi.

Moderate to heavy rain was expected in some southern coastal areas, with wind gusts reaching 70km/h. Some areas were also likely to see hailstorms, the centre said.

Xinhua reported that 50 areas in Guangdong had seen downpours on Saturday and Sunday, while hail swept Shaoguan , cutting power to several villages.

Thirty cities and counties in Fujian and Guangxi were also battered by hailstorms and thunderstorms.

Between Friday and Saturday, 42 cities and counties in Chongqing , Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan and Guizhou were hit by extreme weather, leaving one person dead and at least 150,000 in urgent need of resettlement and basic aid.

The storms flattened more than 1,000 houses, damaged another 138,000 and also damaged 43,200 hectares of crops, of which 6,800 hectares were destroyed.

The National Meteorological Centre has assigned additional personnel to monitor conditions and local civil affairs departments have been ordered to oversee the evacuation of residents from flood-prone regions.