Five killed, 83 injured after rare tornado hits Heze in East China's Shandong
Published: Jul 06, 2024 01:43 PM
Photo: screenshot from CCTV

Photo: screenshot from CCTV

Five people were killed and another 83 were injured after a tornado hit Dongming and Juancheng counties in Heze, East China's Shandong Province, on Friday, causing damage to 2,820 houses, 609,000 mu (4,060 hectares) of farmland, and 48 power lines, local authorities confirmed on Saturday. 

Different levels of government have carried out disaster relief work, organizing medical workers to assist the injured, relocating impacted communities, and mobilizing emergency response teams to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the damage to property and infrastructure. Currently, basic services such as roads, power supply, water supply, and communication have been almost fully restored.

The tornado, considered a severe convective weather event, occurred due to an "upper trough and the warm and humid airflow from the southwest edge of subtropical high pressure," read a government notice. 

Data tracking from 1991 to 2010 found that tornadoes were rare in Shandong, taking place 1.5 times per year on average; the province experiencing the most frequent tornadoes was its southern neighbor Jiangsu Province, at an average of 4.8 times per year, while South China's Guangdong Province ranked second with 4.3 times each year. 

However, experts told media that against the backdrop of an increase in extreme weather amid the climate change, tornadoes are also on the rise. 

The Southern Metropolis Daily, citing Zheng Yuan, publisher of the well-known Weibo blog "China meteorology enthusiasts," said that a tornado is a relatively small weather system and it is difficult to forecast. Its rare occurrence means that most people have never seen one and do not have knowledge of how to respond to it. 

Funnel clouds and rotating debris are typical characteristics of a tornado. "After seeing these features, one should immediately move away in a direction perpendicular to the path of the tornado," Zheng said. 

Global Times