Typhoon forces evacuations, flight cancellations in eastern China


BEIJING (Reuters) – Hundreds of flights were canceled and a million people were evacuated from their homes as the third-largest typhoon on record in China hit the east of the country, state-run China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Saturday.

People holding umbrellas wade through floodwaters amid heavy rainfall on a street after super typhoon Lekima made landfall in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, China August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

Typhoon Lekima made landfall early on Saturday morning in the eastern province of Zhejiang with maximum winds of 187 km (116 miles) per hour, although it had weakened from its earlier designation as a ‘super’ typhoon, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

China’s weather bureau on Saturday issued an orange alert, its second highest, after putting out a red alert on Friday, when the storm forced flight cancellations in Taiwan and shut markets and businesses on the island.

The storm was moving northward at 15 kph and was gradually weakening, Xinhua reported, citing the weather bureau.

Some 625 flights at airports in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu were due to be canceled, CCTV reported, citing the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Several dozen trains connecting Zhejiang with northern and central China had also been canceled.

More than 250,000 residents in Shanghai and 800,000 in Zhejiang province had been evacuated due to the typhoon, and 2.72 million households in Zhejiang had experienced blackouts as strong winds and rains cut electricity transmission lines, state media reported.

The typhoon also forced the closure of Shanghai Disneyland. No deaths from the storm had been reported in China.

The storm was predicted to reach Jiangsu province by the early hours of Sunday and veer over the Yellow Sea before continuing north and making landfall again in Shandong province, CCTV said.

Coastal businesses in Zhejiang were shut and the Ministry of Emergency Management warned of potential risk of fire, explosions and toxic gas leaks at chemical parks and oil refineries.

Reporting by Muyu Xu, Tony Munroe and Martin Pollard; Editing by Joseph Radford

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