More than 200,000 coastal residents in eastern China have evacuated and thousands of ships were called back to shore yesterday as Typhoon Muifa bore down on the country after passing by the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan.
Zhejiang Province moved 206,664 people from its coastal areas, while another 80,400 residents were evacuated in Fujian Province, local government Web sites said. Thousands of ships along the eastern coast had also been called back to shore, the statements said.
Typhoon Muifa was forecast to hit China sometime between this morning and late this afternoon, China’s Central Meteorological Administration said. The storm is expected to make landfall in either northern Zhejiang or southern Jiangsu Province and skim the coast as it heads north.
The administration issued its highest alert yet this year because of the storm, which was packing winds of 162kph. It said the storm likely would intensify as it neared China’s coast.
China’s commercial hub of Shanghai, which has a population of 23 million, lay in Muifa’s expected path, but it was unclear whether the city would take a direct hit from the storm, the Shanghai Daily newspaper reported. Torrential rain was forecast for the city beginning yesterday, it said.
The Shanghai municipal government posted an urgent notice on its Web site late on Friday warning city residents only to go outdoors if absolutely necessary and said Typhoon Muifa was expected to be the worst storm to hit the city since Typhoon Matsa in 2005. Matsa killed 19 people in China, including five in Shanghai, and caused massive damage.
In a separate statement yesterday, the city government said 537 people had been evacuated from Shanghai’s coastal areas.
Dozens of flights in and out of Shanghai and the nearby cities of Wenzhou and Hangzhou had been canceled by yesterday. The Shanghai government said rail authorities were ready to slow or delay high-speed rail services as well, depending on the severity of the storm.
The Shanghai Daily reported that all outdoor events planned for the weekend had been called off or delayed and construction projects near the coast were suspended.
STOCK UP NOW
An emergency message from the US government to Americans living or traveling in eastern China suggested they “stock up on emergency supplies of food, water and cash in case of storm-related power outages.”
China’s National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center said that Muifa could churn up 11m waves in the East China Sea and 5m waves off the coast.
Last week, Typhoon Muifa killed four people in the Philippines even though it did not make landfall. The storm caused power outages and injuries as it passed by Japan’s southern island of Okinawa on Friday and dusted northern Taiwan with light rain and moderate winds earlier on Friday.
Kyodo News agency reported the typhoon had caused 27 injuries on Okinawa and power was out to more than 60,000 homes. The center of the storm was offshore, but high winds and heavy rain were forecast until yesterday morning.
North Korea’s state news agency reported late on Friday that some parts of the country would get heavy rains from the typhoon between tomorrow and Tuesday. Flooding in recent weeks has caused deaths and damage to homes and farmland in the impoverished country.