The death toll from torrential rain rose to 23 yesterday as three more fatalities were confirmed in central China's Hubei Province.

The latest three were killed by lightning as a thunderstorm ripped through some areas in Hubei.

Yingshan County received as much as 29.1 millimeters of rain within an hour yesterday.

The China Meteorological Administration warned yesterday that heavy downpours would hit the eastern and central parts of the country over the next three days, which increases the possibility of floods and mud-rock flows.

The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters has issued a warning, urging the provinces to keep a close watch for any sudden weather change and to take appropriate action.

Zhejiang has issued a yellow torrential rain warning as most parts of the eastern province are likely to receive falls as heavy as 50 millimeters. Strong lightning is also forecast in this region.

Flooding and hail triggered by torrential rain have left at least 18 dead and 12 missing in the southwestern province of Guizhou. A total of 166 people were injured and more than 4,600 had been evacuated since the flooding and hail began to hit Guiyang City, capital of Guizhou, on Sunday night.

As of 5pm yesterday, more than 538,000 people in 17 cities and counties in Guizhou were affected. About 6,700 houses were reduced to rubble or damaged.

In Hunan, torrential rain has pounded parts of the central province since Monday night, leaving two dead and another four missing in Yuanling County.

Nearly 90,000 people in Yuanling were affected by the rain that triggered floods, landslides and damaged houses, roads, crops, power supplies and telecom networks, a county government spokesman said.