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GUANGZHOU, April 18 (Xinhua) -- At least 17 people were killed and 118 injured in south China's Guangdong Province as of Monday after hailstones, cloudburst and strong wind ravaged the region, flood control authorities said.
Gales as strong as 45.5 meters per second, accompanied by hailstorm and lashing rain battered cities including Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhaoqing and Dongguan on Sunday, a spokesman with the province's flood control headquarters said.
The victims were mostly killed by walls and work sheds collapsed in strong wind, as well as objects that fell from buildings, he said.
The number of extreme weather events in China has been increasing since 2000. These include extremely high and low temperatures, rainstorms and typhoons, writes Xinhua.
The past 12 months saw the most instances of extreme weather in a decade, according to China's meteorological authority.
The country witnessed the most number of such events and suffered the most serious consequences in 2010, China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said this week at a news conference.
This summer, the average highest temperature across China was the highest since 1961, with an average 9.7 days with the highest temperature at or above 35 degrees Celsius, 3.5 days more than in previous years.
Extreme rainstorms followed the hot weather. Ninety-seven weather stations around China reported record-breaking daily rainfall, and 133 stations broke their annual records. Only seven record-breaking daily rainfall figures were reported from 2000 to 2009.
Moreover, more than half of the tropical hurricanes formed typhoons and hit coastal regions in East and South China, marking the highest landfall ratio in history.
"In the past 12 months, we experienced extreme weather more often than in any other year in the past decade. And global warming was largely to blame," said Chen Zhenlin, director of the emergency response, disaster mitigation and public services department under the CMA.
"The common point of these extreme weather events was their close connection to rain, which results from climate change," Chen said.
The Pew Center is not a meteorological center and we are not able to offer a direct explanation of the development of individual weather events. However, what is happening in China seems to fit a larger pattern of frequent extreme weather events in other parts of the world