At least two tornadoes killed 12 people in central and eastern China and left more than 300 others injured, authorities said Saturday. The first tornado struck Shengze about 7 p.m., damaging homes and factories and knocking out power. Another tornado hit Wuhan at about 8:40 p.m. with winds of 53 miles per hour, destroying more than two dozen homes and triggering a power outage affecting 26,600 households. Some homes collapsed. Construction site sheds and two cranes were also damaged. Fire officials said the winds damaged electricity facilities and toppled several factory buildings. “I’ve grown up in Wuhan and I’ve never seen anything like it,” one resident of the city posted on China’s Weibo app. China’s commercial hub of Shanghai, around 62 miles from Suzhou, was also hit by powerful thunderstorms, prompting weather officials to declare an alert. Photos published in the media showed a swarm of rescuers searching through building debris in Wuhan.
Tornadoes are rare in China. In July 2019, a tornado killed six people in the northeastern Liaoning province, and another tornado the following month killed eight on the southern resort island of Hainan. In 2016, a tornado and accompanying hailstorm killed 98 people in the eastern Jiangsu province.The country, however, faces more extreme weather as a result of climate change. The risk of disasters such as heat waves and floods was expected to rise in the coming years.