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Freak tornado rips through community in China, killing 10 and destroying scores of homes

Violent tornadoes ripping through a community in eastern China killed least 10 people and left behind a trail of destruction.

The Jiangsu province on Tuesday was struck by two tornadoes within hours of each other, in the latest incident of destructive and deadly weather conditions that prompted Chinese authorities to call for vigilance against strong winds in coastal areas near the Yellow Sea.

The first tornado hit parts of the Suqian city on Tuesday afternoon and destroyed over 137 houses, state broadcaster CCTV said. More than 400 people were relocated as the twister left five dead and at least four injured.

A second tornado killed five more people as it hit the city of Yancheng, 120 miles southeast of Suqian.

The fierce tornadoes were brief but overturned cars, downed power lines and sent debris flying in the air.

"I was at the door and witnessed the wind, solar energy devices, and trees flying in the air," wrote one user on the Chinese social media Weibo.

"For those two minutes, I was dumbfounded."

Weather warnings also went out on Wednesday for the southwestern region of Chongqing, several areas in southwestern Guizhou, southern Hunan, eastern Anhui and central Hubei.

Aftermath of a tornado in Suqian, Jiangsu Province (via REUTERS)
Aftermath of a tornado in Suqian, Jiangsu Province (via REUTERS)

The state broadcaster said that power and road services were restored in Suqian.

Weather officials on Wednesday stepped up warnings about heavy rain and strong winds for the southwestern region of Chongqing, several areas in southwestern Guizhou, southern Hunan, eastern Anhui and central Hubei.

Mainland China and its administrative regions witnessed record-breaking downpours and weeks of historic heat this year, which experts believe were exacerbated by the climate crisis.

Torrential rain lashed China's southeast, causing massive evacuations, landslides and deaths in the wake of unrelenting storms brought by the remnants of Typhoon Haikui.

Tornadoes are rare in China but have caused deaths in Jiangsu in recent years. One person in the province was killed in a tornado last year and four died in 2021.

Eight people were killed in the city of Wuhan the same day.