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Multi-vortex tornado strikes China’s Guangzhou megacity, leaving 5 fatalities, 141 buildings damaged

gunagzhou tornado guangdong china april 27 2024

A destructive multi-vortex tornado, accompanied by heavy rain and large hail up to 12 cm (4.72 inches) in diameter, struck the Guangzhou megacity (population 18.6 million) at approximately 15:00 LT on April 27, 2024, leaving at least five people dead, 33 injured and 141 commercial building damaged. Guangzhou is located in south China’s Guangdong province and is one of the country’s three largest cities.

The Guangzhou Meteorological Observatory confirmed an afternoon sighting of a tornado around 15:05 LT in the Zhongluotan town of Baiyun District, following initial reports by local citizens.

“The Baiyun Zhongluotan region displayed distinct tornado characteristics in radar echo and wind field maps, raising alarms among weather officials,” forecasters at the observatory said. 

The state-run Xinhua news agency quoted officials as saying the tornado exhibited level-three intensity on a five-level scale and traveled a distance of 1 km (0.62 miles), focusing its destruction on the industrial areas.

Eric Wang, a Shanghai-based extreme weather enthusiast, captured the severity of the situation, stating, “Large tornado moved into Guangzhou metropolitan hrs ago… intense power flashes can be seen everywhere.”

“This is as bad as it can get…” he later added. “Total destruction near the industrial area that took a direct hit from the Guangzhou tornado this afternoon, houses collapsed, and power poles snapped…Today will be remembered forever.”

Following the initial tornado sighting, the Huangpu District Meteorological Observatory issued a tornado warning at 15:13 LT, forecasting potential tornado occurrences within the next hour in various parts of the city including Jiufu Street, Longhu Street, Xinlong Town, and Yonghe Street.

The Zengcheng District Meteorological Observatory also issued warnings for the central and southern parts of the district, with wind gusts reaching levels 11 to 12 on the Beaufort scale. In addition to the tornado alerts, there were orange alerts for heavy rain expected to exceed 50 mm (1.97 inches) and severe thunderstorms.

By 15:32, the Guangzhou Central Meteorological Observatory had issued an additional orange alert for strong thunderstorms in the Tianhe and Yuexiu districts.

The tornadoes were accompanied by severe rainfall and hail up to 10 and 12 cm (3.9 – 4.7 inches) in diameter.

Emergency response units, including the city’s emergency management, weather, fire, waterworks, and health departments, were mobilized and rescue operations were largely completed by 22:00 LT, Xinhua reported.

At least 5 people were killed, 33 injured and 141 factory buildings damaged.

The event comes as the province is battling record-breaking floods caused by prolonged heavy rainfall in which at least 4 people died and 10 others went missing. More than 100 000 were evacuated.

As of April 27, Guangzhou’s total monthly rainfall reached 455.8 mm (17.9 inches) — marking the highest April rainfall since 1951 and ~25% of the average yearly rainfall of 1 950 mm (77 inches).

The average April rainfall in the city is 193.8 mm (7.63 inches).

The city’s rainest month is June with 364.9 mm (12.95 inches) on average, followed by May with 329 mm (12.95 inches), and August with 270.3 mm (10.64 inches).


1 Strong tornado hits China’s Guangzhou – Xinhua – April 27, 2024

2 Tornado warnings issued in multiple Guangzhou districts, hail as large as chicken eggs – Dimsum Daily – April 27, 2024

3 Strong tornado kills 5, injures 33 in China’s Guangzhou – Xinhua – April 27, 2024

4 Tornado hits China’s hail-battered southern city of Guangzhou as province battles deadly floods with more rain forecast – SCMP – April 27, 2024


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