Wed, September 24, 2008
China > Mainland

Typhoon Hagupit wreaks havoc in south China

2008-09-24 03:44:49 GMT2008-09-24 11:44:49 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

People push forward motorcycles carefully past a fallen tree on a road Yangjiang, South China's Guangdong Province September 24, 2008 after Typhoon Hagupit lashed the city. [CFP]

GUANGZHOU, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Typhoon Hagupit, packing torrential rain and hurricane force winds, has closed schools in at least two south China cities, cancelled flights and left many urban streets deserted since its landfall in Guangdong Province early on Wednesday.

The 14th strong typhoon of the year landed in Dianbai County in the city of Maoming at 6:45 a.m., packing winds at more than 200 km per hour in its eye, the Guangdong Provincial Meteorological Bureau said.

Strong gales uprooted many trees and bulletin boards in Maoming when the typhoon landed. City authorities said one fishing boat sank in waters off Dianbai County, but no casualties were reported.

The worst typhoon to hit Guangdong in more than a decade has closed all schools and kindergartens in the coastal city of Zhanjiang, where gales and rain left most streets deserted even in the morning rush hour.

"Most people stayed indoor. When the gales sweep through you feel like you'll be blown away," said Xinhua reporter Chen Xianfeng in Zhanjiang.

Many roadside stores and restaurants covered up their gates and windows with wood or steel bars overnight.

The provincial meteorological bureau said the typhoon was trailing off while moving northwest at 25 km per hour. But rainstorms were expected to continue through Thursday.

Heavy rain has hit almost all the southern coastal cities since Tuesday night. At 6 a.m. Wednesday, the precipitation measured 154mm in Sijiu town of Taishan, one of the hardest hit counties in Guangdong.

The province recalled more than 50,000 vessels with almost 200,000 fishermen and crew members on Tuesday.

Haikou, capital of the southernmost Hainan Province, issued a notice late on Tuesday, ordering all schools and kindergartens to be closed on Wednesday.

As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, 33 flights had been canceled at Meilan Airport in Haikou, affecting nearly 2,700 passengers. The airport remained closed at 10 a.m.

The airport in Shenzhen also canceled most domestic flights after 7 p.m. Tuesday, and encouraged passengers to postpone or cancel their trips.

In the adjacent Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, local governments were keeping close watch for secondary disasters.

But Hagupit's landfall in Guangdong had seemingly eased the rains in the southeastern Fujian Province, meteorologists said.

Affected by the typhoon, most parts of the province were drenched by heavy rain until early Wednesday, with the maximum precipitation hitting 89 mm in the 22 hours till 6 a.m. in some coastal counties.

The torrential rain weakened to a drizzle in most cities on Wednesday morning and the provincial capital Fuzhou has cleared up.

Hagupit is the second typhoon in a week to affect Taiwan, Fujian and Guangdong, after typhoon Sinlaku lashed the region last week.

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