Typhoon Muifa batters eastern China

Typhoon forecast to slam into the Shandong peninsula after bypassing Shanghai where 600,000 were ordered to evacuate.

    One person has died after a typhoon blew down power lines and billboards in the Chinese financial hub of Shanghai as it hurtled northeast up the coast.

    As Typhoon Muifa skirted the coast, strong winds caused damage in the city of Shanghai and claimed the life of a 24-year-old swimmer who went missing in heavy surf, local media reported.

    Al Jazeera's meteorologist Kevin Corriveau said the storm, with wind speeds of 178kph and torrential rains, was expected to hit land on Monday.

    Forecasters predicted Muifa would make landfall as a severe tropical storm on Monday morning near Qingdao, home to 7 million people and the Chinese navy's North Sea fleet.

    Evacuations were ordered for 600,000 people in the area, including in Shandong province surrounding Qingdao and points to the south.

    About 30,000 Shandong fishing boats were ordered into port and some were lifted out of the water for safety.

    Transportation was also disrupted by the storm. Hundreds of weekend flights were cancelled in eastern China, and bus and train service was in disarray.

    Heavy rain is expected for Shandong province, as well as much of Jilin to the north, which borders North Korea. The Korean peninsula already suffered heavy flooding in July that killed dozens and destroyed homes.

    At 12:00GMT, Muifa was centred about 340km southeast of Qingdao and was moving northwest about 23kph over the East China Sea, the Hong Kong Observatory said. Winds gusted up to 137kph.

    Flood warning

    South Korean authorities issued a tidal wave and flood warning along the west and south coast and said strong winds overnight could cause damage in central parts of the country, including the capital Seoul.

    The Yonhap news agency reported a 75-year-old man was found dead on Wando island off the peninsula's southern coast. He disappeared while trying to moor a 1-ton ship in rough seas and was found an hour later, the report said.

    Many domestic flights, including between Seoul and the southern island of Jeju, were cancelled as well as nine flights to China from Incheon airport. 

    Power outages were reported and a 600-year-old hackberry tree fell in Jeju and damaged a traditional building from the Joseon dynasty that ruled the peninsula from 1392-1910.

    Nearly 292 millimetres of rain fell on Jeju Island by 5pm, a record for an August day on the island, Yonhap cited from the national weather office.

    Typhoon Muifa was much stronger last week. It killed four people in the Philippines without making landfall, and caused injuries and power outages when it passed the Japanese island of Okinawa on Friday.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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