Chinese weather officials stepped up warnings against heavy rain and strong winds in several regions, state media said on Wednesday, a day after a violent tornado wreaked havoc in the eastern province of Jiangsu, killing five people.

The latest incident in weeks of destructive and deadly weather spurred authorities to call for vigilance against strong winds in coastal areas near the Yellow Sea off Jiangsu.

Tuesday's tornado was brief but fierce, with social media images showing overturned cars, downed power lines and flying debris, much of which littered the streets of Suqian, a city in the north of the province.

"I was at the door and witnessed the wind, solar energy devices, and trees flying in the air," wrote one user of popular social media platform Weibo. "For those two minutes, I was dumbfounded."

Broadcaster CCTV said four people were injured, in addition to the five dead, when the tornado suddenly hit a densely-populated area at 5:20 p.m. (2120 GMT0), damaging or destroying 1,800 homes, leaving acres of crops devastated.

Weather warnings also went out on Wednesday for the southwestern region of Chongqing, several areas in southwestern Guizhou, southern Hunan, eastern Anhui and central Hubei.

Torrential rain recently lashed China's southeast, causing massive evacuations, landslides and deaths in the wake of unrelenting storms brought by the remnants of Typhoon Haikui. (Reporting by Bernard Orr and Shanghai newsroom; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)