Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes in southern China and Vietnam as a powerful typhoon made landfall, prompting flood warnings and the cancellation of hundreds of flights and trains.
The China Meteorological Administration said that Typhoon Talim, the fourth typhoon of the year, roared ashore on the coast of Guangdong province at approximately 10:20pm local time (14:20 GMT) on Monday night, bearing maximum winds of 136.8km per hour (85 mph).
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Storm surges and lashing rains also hammered the southern coastline from Guangdong to Hainan province, the meteorological administration said.
An orange weather alert, the second-highest warning in a four-tier colour-coded system, was issued and nearly 230,000 people in Guangdong were evacuated to safety as of 5pm local time (09:00 GMT) on Monday, according to state news agency Xinhua.
Chinese authorities ordered the closure of dozens of coastal tourist destinations, while 11 rescue vessels, five helicopters, 46 salvage ships and eight emergency rescue teams were on standby to respond to the storm, it added.
Talim is expected to move to the Beibu Gulf in the South China Sea, and the meteorological administration warned the typhoon may make a second landfall in the coastal area of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Tuesday morning.
Parts of Guangxi were told to brace for flash floods through Tuesday.
In Vietnam, authorities said on Monday that they were preparing to evacuate about 30,000 people from the areas forecast to be hardest hit in Quang Ninh and Hai Phong provinces.
Talim “might be one of the biggest to hit the Gulf of Tonkin in recent years”, Vietnam’s top disaster response committee said in an online statement.
Tourists have been advised to leave outlying islands and airlines have rescheduled services to avoid the storm.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh warned of possible floods late on Sunday and directed disaster response teams to prepare for “immediate rescue and relief works”.
Hundreds of trains in southern China’s Guangdong and Hainan, including high-speed trains between Guangzhou and Shenzhen, the metropolis adjacent to Hong Kong, were also suspended on Monday, the state-run China Daily reported, citing local service operators.
Authorities on Hainan island asked ships in nearby waters to return to port after the local marine forecasting station warned of waves of up to 6 metres (20 feet), Xinhua reported.
Meilan International Airport and Qionghai Boao Airport, both on Hainan island, have cancelled all flights, state media reported.
FlightAware, the international flight-tracking website, put that figure at more than 160 cancellations of flights into and out of the island on Monday.
Zhuhai Jinwan Airport in Guangdong near Macau cancelled more than 80 flights, local media said.
Scientists have warned that typhoons are becoming more powerful as the world gets warmer with climate change.