Over 865,000 evacuated in eastern China as storm approaches
More than 865,000 people have been evacuated in eastern China, as Super Typhoon Chan-hom barrels towards Shanghai after lashing Japan’s Okinawa island chain and Taiwan.
More than 100 flights, train rides and ferry services have been canceled.
Metro Line 16 were running at limited speeds on its elevated sections. The full line suspended operation from 1 pm, metro operator said.
According to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau, Chan-Hom was centered about 280 kilometers southeast of Shanghai at 10am on Saturday and will land on Zhejiang Province in the afternoon.
So far, Shanghai has recorded a sustained wind of 14 to 24 meters per second and for some coastal areas the wind speed nearly hit 30 meters per second.
China Eastern Airlines canceled all its flights departing from Shanghai’s two airports till 6am tomorrow.
The powerful storm could be the strongest typhoon to strike Zhejiang province, just south of Shanghai, since 1949, China’s National Meteorological Centre (NMC) said.
The storm left five people dead in the Philippines earlier in the week and injured more than 20 people in Japan on Friday as strong winds uprooted trees and battered buildings, the Tokyo Broadcasting System broadcaster reported.
Four people were also injured by falling trees in Taiwan when the storm buffeted the island on Friday.
Early on Saturday, the storm was 235 kilometres south-west of Zhenjiang province and continued to gain pace as it travelled towards land, the NMC said.
Super Typhoon Chan-hom’s expected path would see it pass just to the east of the financial metropolis of Shanghai, after it makes landfall to the south of the city bringing with it winds of up to 210 kilometres per hour.
In addition to the large-scale evacuations, nearly 30,000 fishing vessels have returned to harbour in Zhenjiang after waves reached up to 10 metres high off the coast, the provincial weather centre said, according to the state news agency Xinhua.
Several cities in the province were already reporting heavy rain and strong gales, the weather centre added.
“The upcoming typhoon seems very powerful. We have sealed all our windows and doors and have stored food,” said Liu Yimin, a villager in coastal Huagang village, according to Xinhua.
People in coastal fishing farms in Fujian province to the south of Zhenjiang were also asked to evacuate on Friday morning when the NMC first issued a red alert — the highest level — for the super typhoon.
The typhoon is the second storm to hit China in two days after severe tropical storm Linfa made landfall on the coast of southern Guangdong province.
Hot on the heels of Chan-hom, Typhoon Nangka is swelling over the Pacific Ocean and is expected to travel north-west towards Japan’s Ryukyu Islands in the coming days.
The Japan Meteorological Agency described the intensity of the storm as “very strong”.