Storms wreaked havoc in Anhui province and Beijing at the weekend, affecting nearly a quarter of a million people and damaging thousands of houses. A tornado, which struck at the same time as a heavy rainstorm, hit 110 towns in eastern Anhui province on Saturday afternoon, Xinhua reported. More than 200,000 people were affected and 14,500 houses damaged in the five-hour storm, the report said. The figures are expected to rise because flooding has made it difficult to assess the damage. Meanwhile, a violent storm accompanied by gale-force winds reportedly killed two people and uprooted dozens of trees in Beijing on Sunday. Two people clinging to a metal guard rail were killed when they were struck by lightning, news agencies reported yesterday. Mainland media did not report any casualties. In the course of two hours, the storm damaged at least 20 cars and tore up 30 trees, including two that were 200 years old, the Beijing Star Daily said. It is not uncommon for strong winds to hit Beijing's suburbs in the summer, but they do not usually reach downtown areas, said a spokesman for the Beijing Meteorological Bureau's weather forecast office. 'The winds are seasonal and damage used to be confined to small suburban areas,' said Zhang Mingying. 'This time they are more noticeable than usual only because they hit densely populated downtown areas.'