China issues first orange alert for severe convective weather since 2013
Published: Apr 02, 2024 10:15 PM
Citizens travel in the rain in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province on April 2, 2024. Photo: VCG

Citizens travel in the rain in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province on April 2, 2024. Photo: VCG

The Chinese meteorological authority issued an orange alert for severe convective weather on Tuesday, marking the first such alert since 2013. It stated that many regions in the country are expected to experience thunderstorms, strong winds, hail, or heavy rainfall from Tuesday to Wednesday, with wind speeds potentially reaching level 12 in some areas.

According to China's National Meteorological Center (NMC), the orange alert for severe convective weather was issued at 6 pm on Tuesday. This marks the first orange alert for severe convective weather since 2013 and the first time that the highest level of warning for this type of weather condition has been issued since the establishment of meteorological disaster warning standards by the NMC.

The meteorological authority said that from Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening, some areas in provinces and regions including Anhui, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi will experience thunderstorms or hail with wind speeds exceeding level 10. In some areas, wind speeds may reach 12 or above, with hailstones exceeding 20 millimeters in diameter.

Additionally, some areas in Jiangsu, Hunan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guizhou and Guangxi are expected to experience short-term heavy rainfall, with hourly rainfall amounts ranging from 30 to 50 millimeters, and locally exceeding 70 millimeters.

The NMC reminded the public to limit outdoor activities during windy weather. It is advised to steer clear of narrow and lengthy pathways surrounded by tall buildings if one must go out, as the wind intensity tends to escalate in such areas, posing a risk to pedestrians.

People should also stay away from loosely installed billboards, withered street trees, and residential buildings cluttered with debris to prevent accidents caused by falling objects from heights, the NMC said. Besides, people should wear masks, scarves, and other dust-proof items to prevent damage to the eyes and respiratory system from sand and dust stirred up by strong winds.

Starting from Saturday, thunderstorms, strong winds, or hail have been reported in various areas in the southern part of China, with extreme severe convective weather occurring in Nanchang, East China's Jiangxi Province, amid record-breaking wind levels.

The meteorological observatory in Nanchang on Tuesday afternoon issued a red alert for hailstone, saying that some areas of the city are expected to experience severe hail weather, while thunderstorms, strong winds, and heavy rain warnings are also in effect simultaneously. The meteorological authority called on the public to suspend all outdoor activities.

Due to the severe hailstorms and strong convective weather on Tuesday, a house collapsed in Honggutan district in Nanchang, trapping people inside. After receiving the report, the local fire department dispatched seven rescue vehicles and 50 rescue personnel to the scene. As of now, all trapped individuals have been rescued, and a total of 11 people were injured, who have been sent to the hospital for treatment.

According to the NMC, as extreme strong convective weather occurred in Nanchang on Sunday, 13 local meteorological observation stations registered record wind breakthroughs and lightning 2,783 times. More than half of the city's meteorological stations observed winds exceeding level eight. Four people in Nanchang died and more than 10 were injured on Sunday due to the extreme strong convective weather, according to media reports.

The meteorological bureau in Jiangxi Province on Tuesday initiated a level IV emergency response to cope with the expected strong winds and hail, as some areas will experience heavy rain and thunderstorms with wind speeds of around level 10.

Meteorological experts noted that the recent high temperatures and active warm and humid air currents in the southern region have accumulated enough energy. When they meet cold air from the north, it can easily lead to the development of strong convective weather.

According to Weather China website, severe convective weather is the most difficult type of weather to forecast, as it comes quickly and is extremely destructive. In May 2020, East China's Shandong Province suffered three rounds of wind and hail disasters, affecting 13 cities and 867,000 people. Nearly 100,000 hectares of wheat and fruit crops such as apples and cherries in the fruiting period were also affected, resulting in direct economic losses of 3.9 billion yuan ($0.54 billion).

As the Qingming Festival approaches, the national meteorological authorities said on Tuesday that most of the northern regions are expected to have sunny weather during the holidays, while the southern regions will still see heavy rainfall, with some areas also experiencing short periods of heavy precipitation, thunderstorms, strong winds, hail and other severe convective weather. Attention should be paid to preventing secondary disasters that may be caused by continuous rainfall, according to media reports.

Global Times