There were no immediate reports of deaths although at least three people were killed in tornadoes and hail storms whipped up ahead of Imbudo’s descent in Guangdong province on Wednesday.

Two of the dead were struck by lightening while the other was hit by a falling tree, said a local official.

The twisters also caused extensive damage to buildings and livestock, including 6,000 chickens killed by hail.

Hospital employees said they admitted dozens of wounded people for treatment, inflicted by typhoon-related injuries.

As Imbudo approached thousands of people from Guandong, home to 78 million, were evacuated. Power and water suppliers were cut as a safety precaution.

Destruction

Floods and mudslides forced
thousands to evacuate their homes

The storm has already ploughed its way through the Philippines, killing 21 people and destroying millions of dollars worth of crops, before brushing Hong Kong where 11 people were injured.

Chinese officials said the storm made landfall in coastal areas of southern China from Dianbai to Yangxi at 0200 GMT.

Winds at the centre of the storm were force 12, the strongest under China’s weather system, said experts.

Torrential rain pounded much of the coastal area while the Guangzhou International Airport grounded all flights to Sydney and Hong Kong.

The Philippines bore the brunt of Typhoon Imbudo with officials saying the toll from the strongest typhoon to hit the archipelago in five years rose to 21.

China has been hit by a series of natural disasters this month.

On Wednesday nearly a million people were affected by an earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale which shook China's southwestern Yunnan province, killing 16 people and leaving 300 others injured.

The economic loss of the tremor tallied up to $74.7 million.

Earlier this month floods and mudslides caused havoc and claimed almost 600 lives.