East China braces for weakening storm Kalmaegi, 360,000 evacuated

2008-07-18 08:56:33 GMT       2008-07-18 16:56:33 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

FUZHOU, July 18 (Xinhua) -- China's eastern coastal Fujian and Zhejiang provinces have evacuated 360,000 people and called 61,000 fishing vessels back to harbor to brace for the weakening tropical storm Kalmaegi, which has killed at least six people in Taiwan.

Fujian has evacuated nearly 30,000 workers in the coastal waters and 150,000 people on 35,000 fishing vessels returning to harbor, the provincial flood control authorities said.

Neighboring Zhejiang had evacuated nearly 180,000 people and ordered 26,000 fishing boats back to harbor as of 2 p.m. Friday, the Zhejiang provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters said.

Kalmaegi made landfall near Ilan in northern Taiwan late on Thursday when it was a typhoon. At least six people have been reported dead on the island. The storm also damaged many key roads and affected rail services in some areas on the island.

Kalmaegi weakened into a severe tropical storm at 2 a.m. Friday.

At 4 p.m. Friday, the storm was spotted on the sea waters 80 kilometers southeast of Xiapu, Fujian, with winds of up to 90 km per hour, according to the Fujian provincial meteorological station.

The storm is moving northwest and is forecast to made landfall in the coastal areas between Xiapu and Fuding in Fujian, late on Friday, the station said.

Kalmaegi, the seventh storm this year, is also expected to affect Shanghai on Friday and Saturday.

Flood control, offshore fishery and marine authorities in Fujian, Zhejiang and Shanghai have sent out warnings to prepare for the storm. All vessels have been advised to return to port.

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