Typhoon Fitow hits China's East coast

Typhoon rolls in with winds of up to 151 km per hour, bringing lashing rain and causing widespread blackouts.

    Typhoon Fitow hits China's East coast
    Fitow also forced suspension of bullet train services in several cities in Zhejiang, Fujian and Jiangxi provinces [Reuters]

    Typhoon Fitow slammed into the east coast of China after thousands of people were evacuated to safety and weather authorities issued their highest alert level.

    The storm, packing winds of up to 151 kilometres an hour, made landfall in Fujian province in the early hours of Monday, bringing lashing rain and causing widespread blackouts, the China's Xinhua news agency reported.

    It was expected to continue northwest but weaken quickly, the National Meteorological Centre said.

    In Zhejiang province's coastal Cangnan County some houses collapsed in the strong winds, according to flood control authorities, while a boy was injured by flying glass.

    As the storm bore down Sunday, the National Meteorological Centre issued a red alert, its highest level. In Zhejiang 574,000 people were evacuated, while in Fujian 177,000 were displaced, Xinhua reported.

    Two port workers in Zhejiang's city of Wenzhou went missing and may have fallen into the sea, the agency said, as authorities were urged to check the safety of dams, reservoirs and chemical plants.

    The storm also forced the suspension of bullet train services in several cities in Zhejiang, Fujian and Jiangxi provinces on Sunday, while Wenzhou's airport cancelled 27 flights, according to the state broadcaster.

    Chinese maritime authorities also issued red alerts, warning of storm tides and waves, with fishermen urged to return to port and local authorities told to prepare harbour facilities and sea walls for high tides.

    In Zhejiang more than 35,000 boats returned to harbour while in Fujian nearly 30,000 vessels were called back, according to Xinhua.

    Named after a flower from Micronesia, Fitow comes just two weeks after Typhoon Usagi wreaked havoc in the region leaving at least 25 reported dead in southern China.

    Fitow, which Xinhua described as the 23rd to hit China this year, arrived after passing through Japan's southern Okinawan island chain and surging past the north of Taiwan, causing flight and ferry cancellations.

    SOURCE: AFP


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