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Chinese Death Toll from Lightning Highest Ever
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Lightning left 141 people dead in China last month, the highest monthly death toll since records began in 2000, according to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA).


On Wednesday Song Lianchun, CMA spokesman and head of the CMA disaster forecast and relief department, reported that this year China had been hit by increasingly frequent and severe lightning. Hail and cyclones have also been rising.


This August two to three tropical storms or typhoons are likely to make landfall in coastal areas, Song added.


He urged local meteorological branches to closely monitor and accurately forecast all possible severe weather conditions this month in a bid to minimize loss of life and property.


Meanwhile, some regions in China are experiencing the hottest weather in more than a century. Temperatures in Fuzhou, the capital of the southeastern coastal province of Fujian, have exceeded 35 degrees centigrade for more than 30 straight days. This is the longest run of high temperatures since 1880.


On Wednesday the CMA and the Chinese Center for Disease Prevention and Control issued this year's first heat wave forecast, predicting that temperatures in many parts of the country may pass 35 degrees centigrade on Thursday.


Song blamed global warming and abnormal weather patterns for the conditions.


(Xinhua News Agency August 2, 2007)

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