A strong tornado hits south China's Guangzhou, resulting in 5 deaths, 33 injuries
Published: Apr 28, 2024 08:50 AM
Photo: Screenshot from CCTV's CCTV's official Weibo account

Photo: Video screenshot from CCTV's official Weibo account

On Saturday afternoon, a powerful tornado struck a district in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province, resulting in five deaths and 33 injuries. The local meteorological bureau announced on Saturday night that strong convective weather is expected to continue occurring frequently in the city in the coming days.

Around 3 pm on Saturday, the tornado hit Zhongluotan town in Guangzhou's Baiyun district, impacting an area approximately one kilometer wide and affecting four villages.

By 10 pm on Saturday, on-site search and rescue operations had been largely completed. The disaster resulted in 5 deaths and 33 injuries, with the injured promptly transported to hospitals for treatment. 141 factories sustained damage, but there were no reports of collapsed residential buildings.

Following the disaster, the city swiftly organized six working groups, including those for rescue, repair, post-disaster support, and order maintenance, and initiated emergency response procedures. Medical, public security, traffic police, fire, and housing construction departments, along with personnel from the town and villages, were mobilized to conduct comprehensive search and rescue efforts.

The local meteorological bureau reported that since noon on Saturday, hail and tornadoes occurred in Guangzhou, accompanied by widespread moderate to severe thunderstorms and heavy rain, along with short-lived strong winds and intense lightning.

In the Saturday afternoon, a strong convective cloud system entered Guangzhou, later moving into Renhe town and Zhongluotan town in Baiyun District, lasting approximately 40 minutes.

During this time, a tornado occurred near Liangtian village in Zhongluotan town of Baiyun District. The local meteorological station recorded a maximum gust of 20.6 meters per second (Beaufort scale force 8) approximately 2.8 kilometers from the tornado's point of occurrence.

A preliminary survey has been conducted on the tornado's impact path, covering approximately 1.7 kilometers. The maximum width of the impact is about 280 meters. Based on preliminary assessment, the tornado is judged to be of strong intensity, equivalent to an EF2 tornado on the Fujita scale.

The local authority explained the reason for the occurrence of the tornado in Guangzhou. 

Over a period of time, warm and humid air currents from the southwest of the South China Sea continuously strengthened, delivering a large amount of moisture and energy to Guangzhou. This led to a prolonged period of high temperature and humidity, resulting in atmospheric instability near the surface with the accumulation of significant unstable energy.

Furthermore, on Saturday morning, warm and humid air currents near the surface continued to intensify, with several observation stations recording unusually high absolute humidity levels. 

Additionally, during the daytime on Saturday, the low-level jet stream intensified, exacerbating the unstable layering of "warm below, cold above," thereby creating favorable conditions for the formation of tornadoes and hail as the 0-6km wind shear, conducive to create tornadoes and hail, exceeded 25m/s. 

Lastly, the convergence of mesoscale convergence lines on the ground and the passage of high-altitude fluctuations acted as triggering conditions, initiating strong updrafts, which led to the intense development of the parent storm for the tornado.

Global Times