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Chinese storms produce 1.5-inch hail

March 24, 2013 at 11:59 AM

BEIJING, March 24 (UPI) -- Severe rainstorms in central and southern China have produced hail 1.5 inches in diameter and caused $94 million in estimated damage, officials said.

Hail caused destruction in China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Saturday and Sunday, the local meteorological center said.

Baise City recorded hail 1.5 inches in diameter, thunder and strong gales, weather forecaster Nong Mengsong said.

The local meteorological center said rainstorms were expected to continue into Sunday night with more than 3 inches of precipitation to fall in 24 hours.

Storms began Tuesday, and resulted in nine deaths Wednesday in China's Guangdong Province, Xinhua reported. Authorities in Hunan said another three people died between Tuesday and Friday.

Figures released late Saturday by the Ministry of Civil Affairs showed 42 cities and counties in the municipality of Chongqing and the provinces of Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan and Guizhou have received damage from the storm. More than 1,000 houses in those areas were destroyed and another 138,000 were damaged.

The storm damaged 106,749 acres of crops, 16,803 of which were destroyed completely, Xinhua reported.

The economic loss from the storms was estimated at $94 million.

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