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13 killed as heavy rain, wind and hail hit Argentina's capital

By the CNN Wire Staff
April 5, 2012 -- Updated 2143 GMT (0543 HKT)
People try to get past a tree that fell during a storm in Buenos Aires on Wednesday night. At least 13 people were killed.
People try to get past a tree that fell during a storm in Buenos Aires on Wednesday night. At least 13 people were killed.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Death toll rises in Buenos Aires-area storm, officials say
  • Residents awaken to crumbling walls, crushed cars and fallen trees
  • "The level of virulence of this storm is not normal," Buenos Aires official says
  • A provincial official says wind gusts reached up to 120 kph (75 mph)

(CNN) -- At least 13 people were killed and 20 others were injured when a severe storm tore through the Buenos Aires area, state media reported Thursday.

Residents of the city awakened to crumbling walls, crushed cars, fallen trees and scattered branches after heavy rain, wind and hail hit Wednesday night, the state-run Telam agency said.

"The level of virulence of this storm is not normal," said Diego Santilli, the city's environment minister, according to Telam. "The winds were similar to those of a tornado."

One resident told the news agency that the Parque Avellaneda neighborhood "looks like they threw a bomb." Fallen trees blocked streets. A wall in at least one historic building collapsed, Telam said.

Damage occurred within the city limits and also in the surrounding province, where at least nine people were killed when they were crushed or electrocuted, Telam said.

Wind gusts ranged from 100 kph to 120 kph (62 mph to 75 mph), said Luciano Timerman, a provincial emergency official, Telam reported.

Authorities evacuated 500 people in the western and southern areas of the metropolitan area as the storm raged, Timerman said. They were returning to their homes on Thursday.

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