China evacuates entire town as record rains, winds lash its south

BEIJING: Severe weather conditions including relentless rains, hail, and near-hurricane force winds have pounded southern China, prompting the evacuation of an entire town with over 1,700 residents in Guangdong province, local media reported on Thursday.
According to reports citing local authorities, all residents of Jiangwan township in the Shaoguan region were evacuated to safety via buses and helicopters as a new wave of floods swept in.
“I have never seen such heavy rain in my life, nor have people older than me,” said Jiang, a 72-year-old resident who preferred to be identified only by his surname, as reported by state-run China Daily.

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The onslaught of severe weather has resulted in downed power lines, disrupted mobile phone networks, dangerous mudslides, submerged homes, and destroyed bridges across the region.
Over the past week, Guangdong province, once renowned as the “factory floor of the world,” has witnessed scenes of widespread devastation as numerous local rainfall records for the month of April have been shattered.

Videos circulating on social media captured the terrifying moments in a restaurant in the provincial capital of Guangzhou, where customers watched in horror as hurricane-like winds uprooted trees and torrents of rain pounded the streets outside.

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Guangdong, prone to summer floods, faced a similar challenge in June 2022 when it experienced the heaviest downpours in six decades, resulting in the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people.

The current spate of storms, which has claimed at least four lives, is attributed to the El NiƱo weather phenomenon and a stronger-than-normal subtropical high pressure system circulating north of the equator.

Weather officials explained that the associated warmer temperatures have drawn in moisture-laden air from the South China Sea and even as far as the Bay of Bengal, intensifying rainfall and wind speeds in the region.

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