Typhoon Chan-hom: Almost 1 million people evacuated in eastern China as powerful storm approaches

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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.

It was expected to make landfall in the afternoon or evening near the port of Ningbo, home to almost 6 million people, before brushing Shanghai and its population of 23 million.

At noon (2:00pm AEST) the storm was around 75 kilometres from the coast of Zhejiang province and packing winds of up to 173 kilometres per hour, the NMC said, maintaining its highest red alert for the typhoon despite downgrading it from “super” to “strong”.

Out at sea, Chan-hom was whipping up waves of up to 10 metres high, the US government’s Joint Typhoon Warning Centre said.

Zhejiang has evacuated about 960,000 people and called its entire fishing fleet back to port, state media said. Provincial authorities said earlier that nearly 30,000 vessels had moored safely.

Some parts of the province were deluged with more than 300 millimetres of rain in the 24 hours before Saturday morning, the local government said.

In Shanghai, the city government maintained its second most serious typhoon alert, urging people to stay home and cancelling several public events as rain picked up towards midday.

Typhoon Chan-hom

Chan-hom is forecast to affect a wide swathe of China, also bringing heavy rain to the eastern provinces of Fujian and Jiangsu, the NMC said.

Fujian province, south of Zhejiang, has evacuated more than 30,000 people and Jiangsu another 10,000people.

People in coastal fishing farms in Fujian were asked to evacuate on Friday morning when the NMC first issued a red alert — the highest level — for the former super typhoon.

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.

“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.

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”.

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Walter Skinner

Walter Skinner joined the Pluto Daily in 2012 and has covered news from around the world.
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