China's tornado toll goes up to 99
A powerful tornado and hailstorm pummeled the farmland and factories in Yancheng City, Jiangsu on Thursday, toppling houses, damaging wire poles and destroying a solar panel factory where hazardous chemicals had been stored.
The city government said in a press release that 1,591 homeless victims are staying in temporary shelters in two counties, and workers are rushing to repair electricity, water and telecommunication facilities.
Of the injured, 107 had been discharged from hospitals and 152 have sustained serious injuries, said Wu Xiaodan, vice mayor of Yancheng City. Zheng Yongguang with the China Meteorological Administration confirmed that an EF-4 tornado with a wind speed of 73 meters/second was responsible for the damage, citing radar data and their on-site investigation.
EF-4 is the second strongest rating for tornados. Zheng said cement ships hurled upside-down onto shore and twisted communication towers were seen, demonstrating the power of the tornado. A primary school teacher also recorded a video of a funnel cloud, a key tornado indicator, using a smartphone, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.