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Published on : Friday, June 24, 2016
The tornado struck outskirts of Yancheng which has a population of 7.1 million and located about 500 miles south of Beijing.
“The twister was one of the most extreme weather events witnessed by China in recent years, leaving a swath of destruction with destroyed buildings, smashed trees and flipped vehicles on their roofs,” media reports stated.
The event was labelled a national-level emergency and it was the worst tornado to hit China in half a century, according to media.
The storm struck at around 2:30 p.m. local time Thursday.
Satellite imagery reveals vigorous thunderstorm activity developed in this region Thursday. Clouds bubbled up to extreme altitudes, signifying intense updrafts common in the most violent storms.
The thunderstorm activity responsible for the twister developed along a feature known as the mei-yu (or baiu) front. Weather Underground meteorologist Bob Henson explains how this front tends to serve as a focal point for severe weather:
This semi-permanent feature extends from eastern China across Taiwan into the Pacific south of Japan, associated with the southwest monsoon that pushes northward each spring and summer.
The mei-yu/baiu front is very significant in the weather and climate of southeast Asia as it serves as the focus for persistent heavy convective rainfall associated with mesoscale convective complexes (MCCs) or mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) that propagate eastward. According to a series of studies Mei-yu rainfall tends to be particularly heavy in the summer following an El Niño event.
Partly due to the mei-yu front and moisture convergence in this region, eastern China tends to be a hot spot for tornados in the Eurasian continent.