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Central China hailstorm leaves three dead


20:16, April 19, 2013

CHANGSHA, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Hailstorms have battered parts of central China's Hunan Province since Thursday, leaving three people dead, local authorities said Friday.

According to Hunan's Provincial Department of Civil Affairs, the hailstorms have affected 105,000 residents and forced the evacuation of more than 9,400 people.

Nearly 200 houses collapsed and 11,000 houses were damaged to varying degrees. The storms have also destroyed about 3,900 hectares of crops.

Hailstones were as large as 1.8 cm in diameter in the city of Jishou. Wind speeds hit 22.6 meters per second at Hengshan Mountain, a renowned scenic area.

Weather forecasts said heavy rain and hail will continue to hit parts of Hunan next week.

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