China on alert after storms kill 27

Beijing - Alerts were raised for southern and north-eastern China Saturday after the death toll reached 27 with two missing from this week's heavy rains.

Ten people died in the southern province of Guizhou and nine in the south-western city of Chongqing.

A streak of lightning is seen above the skyline of Nanning during a thunderstorm in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region on June 5. Credit: Reuters

Neighboring Sichuan province and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region suffered three deaths each.

The National Meteorological Center warned students taking college entrance exams to leave home early to make sure they arrive on time, as up to 80 millimeters of rain was expected over the weekend in certain regions.

Hail, floods and landslides wreaked havoc across southern areas. The weather bureau also expanded its warnings to include northern provinces of Liaoning and Jilin, as well as the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

The National Commission for Disaster Reduction announced that 239,000 people had been relocated and 116,000 were in urgent need of basic living necessities. The picturesque Guangxi region was hit hardest, with thousands of residents facing water and power outages.

Luzhai county suffered its highest rainfall in 30 years - 326

millimeters in 31 hours - Xinhua news agency said. Primary schools cancelled classes in Fengshan county, where 480 students had to be evacuated after flooding reached up to 1.8 meters deep, Xinhua said.

The storms toppled more than 9,700 houses, damaged 55,000 homes and destroyed 19,400 hectares of crops, it said.