47,000 in central China affected by hailstorm

Updated: 2008-04-10 07:35

YICHANG, Hubei -- A hailstorm has hit Yishan county in central China's Hubei Province, affecting more than 47,000 people, after eight people were killed by a thunderstorm in the neighboring Dangyang City.

Hails, measuring up to 2 cm in diameter, heavy rains and strong winds wreaked havoc in Yishan between midnight and 8 a.m. Tuesday. The extreme weather left  4,000 hectares of crops and 3,500 houses damaged, 31 highway cave-ins and 7,440 people evacuated, said the Yishan county government on Wednesday.

Direct economic losses from the hailstorm stood at 55 million yuan (US$7.86 million), the government said.

More than 2,000 vehicles were stranded on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning because of a landslide in a highway linking Yishan and the provincial capital Wuhan.

Elsewhere, the thunderstorm in Dangyang killed eight people, injured  66 and affected 350,000 on Tuesday. It caused 210 million yuan in losses, with 10,850 houses and 22,666 hectares of crops damaged.

The thunder also cut the water supply and disrupted road traffic. In the worst-hit Yuyang County, communications were interrupted for seven hours.

Power supply resumed on Wednesday evening after more than 100 emergency workers were summoned to repair the Dangyang grid.

In Shanghai, a 61-year-old woman was killed and her husband injured by lightning on Tuesday, shortly after the local observatory issued a warning.

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