China says hail and torrential rains pouring down in north-west China have killed 19 people and left 45 others missing.

The official Xinhua News Agency said on Friday the stormy weather disrupted power and communications, destroyed farmland and a highway in Minxian county of Gansu province.

Xinhua says nearly 2 000 people were evacuated after the storm battered the county on Thursday evening.

The agency says the provincial government has sent a team to oversee rescue efforts. - Sapa-AP