Whole villages were flattened when severe electrical storms brought lightening, hail, gale-force winds, and tornadoes to China’s Jiangsu Province this afternoon.
Collapsed buildings, blocked roads, and extensive damage to infrastructure and agricultural production has been reported. The extent of the damage is still being assessed. The death toll at 10:00PM stood at 78, while over 500 were reported injured. Natural disaster emergency management ordinances have been put into effect by the provincial government.
A villager reported that the sky turned black. Expecting heavy rain, he hurried home. Watching from his window, he saw the tiles on the roof of a neighboring house peeling off in the wind. Fearing for his safety, he moved away from the window and sat in a corner. His house collapsed around him, but he managed to crawl out unharmed.
The first storms hit the province at around 2:30PM. Video footage shows golf ball-sized hailstones pounding the region. Wind speeds of up to 34.6m/s were measured. The wind brought down power-lines and destroyed substations, leaving large parts of the region without power.
In Funing County, a kindergarten was hit leaving 5 children injured, 2 seriously, while another 5 students suffered minor injuries in the local elementary school.