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[Updated] Enjoy last gasps of sunshine, typhoon Utor is on its way

Posted: 08/12/2013 1:29 pm

It’s been an incredible few days in the Pearl River Delta with clear blue skies and blazing sun, but it’s all about to come to an end.

It’s literally the “calm before the storm”, and the storm, named Utor, is 800 kilometres away from the shores of South China as this story is published.  The Hong Kong Observatory expects to raise signal 1 later this afternoon as the typhoon inches closer. It’s current trajectory shows it slamming into western Guangdong by mid week.

The forecast for the next seven days is mostly wet and stormy, so batten down the hatches.  If you’ve got some photos of the storm, we’d love to publish them. Just end them over to admin-at-thenanfang-dot-com.

Updated @ 16:09

The Hong Kong Observatory officially issued standby signal 1 at 4:05pm.

Reports of the typhoon’s damage in the Philippines are also coming in.  One report, from the New York Times, says 23 fishermen there are missing:

Typhoon Utor, described as the strongest typhoon globally so far this year, slammed ashore in mountainous eastern Aurora province with sustained winds of 175 kilometers (109 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 210 kph (130 mph).

Utor is 730 kilometres from the PRD at the time this was published (4:12pm).

Updated @ 9:37 Tuesday August 13

The Hong Kong Observatory issued standby signal no. 3 at 4:40 this morning. It says Utor is about 460 km southwest of the PRD, and is moving towards the west coast of Guangdong.

It’s clouded over in Shenzhen and Hong Kong as the storm advances.


Storms, flash floods kill at least 19 in Guangdong

Posted: 05/17/2013 7:00 am

Nineteen people are dead and fourteen are missing as a result of storms and subsequent flash floods that have swept Guangdong Province over the past 48 hours, according to the provincial government.

An estimated 43,900 people have been affected by the storms and over 36,000 have been displaced. A least 710,000 hectares of farmland has been affected.

Over 1,000 homes are under water and an estimated 300 million yuan-worth of damage has been done. Bear in mind that most of this damage has been done in less developed parts of the province, so entire families will be living with the consequences for generations.

Guangzhou, Shaoguan, Heyuan, Meizhou, Zhaoqing, Qingyuan and Yunfu have all been affected by the floods.

Xinhua has more:

The water levels of some rivers in Guangdong have surpassed warning lines, and an offshoot of the Beijiang River saw the worst flooding in a century, according to the headquarters.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, 19 meteorological stations in Guangdong had reported precipitation measuring over 250 mm. Qujiang District, Shaoguan City, saw the highest precipitation, at 339.8 mm.

The Nanfang will continue to bring you the latest developments.


5 dead, 4 missing after a storm and severe flood in northern Guangdong

Posted: 05/16/2013 4:44 pm

Five people are dead and four are missing after a storm in northern Guangdong Province’s Fogang County that raged throughout last night and this morning, Guangzhou Daily reports on its microblog.

Around 10,000 people have been affected by the subsequent flooding and some houses are completely under water.

It has also caused a long backup on the no.106 national highway.

Of the people killed, three were in Shijiao Village and two were in Shuitou Village. Most of them were in their 80s.

At the same time, four people were killed by a storm in Xiamen in neighbouring Fujian Province as miserable weather continues to plague the south.

Some images of the flooding, courtesy of Sina Weibo


Watch: Freak weather in south China has now claimed 24 lives

Posted: 03/22/2013 8:44 am

Freak weather has now claimed the lives of 24 people and injured hundreds more as it moved across southern China on Wednesday. At least nine died in Dongguan after a tornado struck.

We’ve felt the hot, humid weather turn to overcast skies, heavy rain and blustery winds in recent days. Conditions have been milder as a result, but depending on where you are in Guangdong, it gave way to torrential downpours, a deadly tornado and giant hailstones, knocking out power.

People were left trapped in collapsed buildings after the tornado swept through Dongguan.

However, 134 more people sustained minor injuries after the incident, the Dongguan Municiple Health Bureau said, according to a report by SCMP.

Experts reckon this wild weather is caused by the transition of seasonal monsoons. Here’s what the chairman of the Hong Kong Observatory said to SCMP:

The observatory said the severe weather was a result of the annual “summer and winter monsoon transition”. This often led to devastating thunderstorms, strong winds and some hail in China’s southern regions.

The observatory said the storms usually occurred between April and August. “It is rare to see hail in March,” the observatory chairman said.

Across southern China, storms affected neighbouring provinces including Guangxi, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guizhou and Fujian with the overall death toll hitting 27 with 272 injuries.

Here’s a rundown of the SCMP weather stats:

Maximum wind speeds were recorded at 49.1 metres a second (that’s 109.8mph/176.8k/ph, and the greatest precipitation of rain was recorded at 40.6mm in Dalingshan.

The Dongguan Municipal Meteorological Observatory issued an orange hail signal on Wednesday afternoon. Observatory chairman said that it was the first hail signal issued since the system was established in 2006.

If, however, you have plans to be out and about over the next few days, save it for next week. The observatory says the weather will be unstable, and that if a hailstone occurs, stay out of it and close any windows in future.


Woman dies after being struck by lightning in Shenzhen on Sunday night

Posted: 08/21/2012 1:29 pm

A freak accident happened in Shenzhen on Sunday night, according to a report in the Shenzhen Daily.

A woman and her two friends were hiking on Wutong Mountain when a thunder and lightning storm rolled through Shenzhen.  The mountain is home to a number of trees known as phoenix trees (Delonix regia) in China, which are tall and particularly susceptible to lightning strikes.

At one point in the evening, the woman was struck by a lightning bolt.  Her two friends nearby were also injured, and all three were rushed to hospital.  The woman was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

Shenzhen reminds people again to be careful when out and about, especially during bad weather.  We are in storm season down here, so be mindful of weather changes.



A heartbreaking tale: one girl’s search for her dad in the Beijing storm

Posted: 07/24/2012 9:11 pm

We were fortunate down in the Pearl River Delta to have very few (if any) casualties from Typhoon Vicente, which crashed into our shores this week.  Beijing, which faced its own storm over the weekend, wasn’t nearly as lucky.

MissXQ, who has done excellent work on Twitter following the floods up north, has translated a heartbreaking tale of a girl in Beijing who chronicled her search for her dad on Sina Weibo after the deadly floods drowned parts of the city.

The girl, named @侯帅不是女金刚 on Weibo, lives in Fengtai District in Beijing.  Below is her story, told through her own posts on Sina Weibo as she frantically searched for her father and pleaded with others for help.

Her odyssey began on the afternoon of the rainstorm in Beijing.  She made her first post around 4:00pm on July 23:

“My dad went to Man Shui Qiao (in Beijing’s Shijingshan District) to go fishing before the rainstorm. He is still not home. My mom and I am really worried! Please repost and help us! His car is a silver Buick and the plate number is NOKJ06.”

Netizens in China helped her out by sharing her post 44,000 times.   At 4:30 pm on July 23, she posted to say her mom had called the police, who said someone reported her dad’s car had been washed away.

“The police said a car was washed away around the time my mom called my dad… that was their last conversation.  Please help repost, thank you!! This is my dad’s picture.”

5:09 pm, July 23:

“Can somebody tell me what number I can call to check if my dad’s name is on the casualty list?”

5:13 pm:

Some netizens posted to Weibo accusing @侯帅不是女金刚 of just wanting to seek attention by posting that her dad was missing.   In response, she said she wouldn’t curse her dad to become famous.

6:33 pm, @侯帅不是女金刚 posted:

“Can anyone help? We reported to the police and asked them to search for my dad’s car, but the police said they have to ask permission from their bosses, so we have to wait! What can I do? Please, please, please!”

Most netizens commented that she should ask her relatives and friends to help rather than wait for the “useless” police.

6:42 pm:

“Who can come to my house and help us search for my dad? Police aren’t bothering, I beg you all, please please please!  I am going nuts!”

6:48 pm:

“My mom, relatives and I will go out searching for my dad ourselves, please contact my number when I am not on Weibo! Thank you all!” She included her phone number in her post.

12:24 am, July 24:

“I just got back home. The TV station interviewed us. We went to the hospital and police station, but no result. Thanks for all your help. We are still waiting for the police to get permission from their bosses to start searching for my dad, and we are sure NOKJ06 is his car plate number. Thank you for your repost. I am not lying, really.”

1:36 am:

“Anyone know the big names in the city level police bureaus? Can you help to talk to them directly and speed up the process so we don’t need to wait for them to finally decide to search for my dad? My mom and I can not wait anymore, we are so worried.”

2:50 am:

“My mom is still awake. I cannot sleep either. I feel so bad.  I have prepared for the worst to come but I dare not think about it. I am so scared, so scared… I don’t want to lose my dad, I don’t want to lose my whole world.  But for my mom, I have to stay positive and I believe my dad is okay! He will be back and I will continue to search for him tomorrow. “

4:50 am:

“My mom fell asleep. I cannot. I am so worried. I am so afraid something will happen. Papa, please come back, I beg you, please!”

5:48 am:

“I’ve never thought this kind of thing will happen to me. I am really worried now. I don’t know what is waiting for me.  I prepared for the worst but I am so scared that we still don’t have any clue where my dad is. How much I hope this is just a nightmare and it will all go away when I wake up! Dad, please come home, me and my mom are waiting for you!”

8:05 am:

“Please don’t play with me anymore. Those people who sent me SMSs and told me they found my dad’s car, please don’t play with me anymore. When I got your message, I woke my mom up and called you back, but your phone is out of service. Please don’t play with me. I am so worried!”

9:22 am:

“At 10:48 pm on July 23, someone reported to the police that he saw a car being washed away. It was at the same time my mom spoke with my dad on the phone. But the police have not given us any update on when they will search for that car. The police told us they have to get permission from their boss to search for the car.  They won’t do anything before they get permission! But my mom and I are so worried! Does anyone have any good ideas?”

9:51 am:

“Can I curse? If my dad is a government official the police wouldn’t let us wait this long just to get permission!  We have been begging them all day and night, they still cannot get permission!!! My dad is in the car and the car is under the fucking water!!  I cannot fucking stand it! Can you save people’s lives first? Can you!!”

2:27 pm:

“Thank you all! My family has contacted the special rescue team. But all of them are in Fangshan and they have no people available to help us. I called the mayor’s hotline, but the only answer is wait. I called 110 (police) and the fire department, no one can help. All my family has no other choice but wait. We are all prepared for the worst. I don’t know what to do. The only thing we can do is wait for the rescue team to have some spare people to save my dad.”

3:25 pm:

“Now the Shijingshan, Fengtai and Mentougou police stations are trying to clear themselves out of this. We found the car plate. My uncle found someone to go under the water to search for it and picked it up. I am on the spot. All the police are trying to come clear of it. “

4:14 pm:

“Finally the rescue team has some time to search for my dad and his car.”

5:27 pm:

“This is my last Weibo update, I found my dad’s car, car plate, and his body…  I love you, dad.”


Storm of the decade: Vicente worst storm to hit the PRD in 13 years

Posted: 07/24/2012 11:07 am

Shenzhen was hit hard by Typhoon Vicente

The worst storm to hit the Delta, classified as a Hurricane No. 10 by the Hong Kong Observatory, made its way through the western fringes of Guangdong Province after making landfall in Taishan early on Tuesday morning.

Just before 1am the Hong Kong Observatory hoisted its highest warning, a No. 10 Hurricane signal, something not seen since 1999, making it one of the most powerful typhoons to slam into the region in over a decade.

Throughout the night and into the early hours of Tuesday, storm signals were increased as the threat of flooding and landslides threatened neigbourhoods and highways.

By 2:15am the Observatory recorded wind speeds of 180 kilometres per hour (112mph) at Ngong Ping on Lantau Island, equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane in the United States. However, wind speeds at the core of Vicente reached 225 kilometres per hour (140mph), a Category 4 hurricane storm.  (Hurricane Katrina, which resulted in hundreds of deaths in New Orleans in 2005, was a Category 5 hurricane).

By 7am, storm signals for Hong Kong and Macau were issued at No. 8 while red, orange and yellow warnings were in place on the mainland.

Since 1946, only 13 typhoons have reached a No. 10 signal, making Vicente, the third tropical cyclone of the 2012 season, the 14th.

Check out the latest Nanfang Studio album with photos of Vicente hitting Shenzhen.


Hail, thunderstorms rock Guangdong — 17 people dead (check out the video)

Posted: 04/18/2011 2:49 pm

Day turned into night yesterday afternoon in southern Guangdong for one of this area’s famous thunder and lightning storms.

The storms left 17 people dead, according to this report from UPI:

The death toll from the weekend storm had risen to at least 17 with another 118 injured by Monday in the southern province’s Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhaoqing and Dongguan cities, flood control officials said.

Lashing rains were accompanied by gale force winds of more than 101 miles per hour and hailstones, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

Most of the victims were killed or injured by collapsing structures and flying objects, the report said.

Some cities were harder hit than others. But to get an idea how bad it was, take a look at this Youku video (h/t to @youkubuzz) shot in Guangzhou.


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