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Fung Wong gains strength as it heads to east coast
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Staffers at Fujian provincial observatory closely watch the path of Typhoon Fung Wong, July 28, 2008.

Typhoon Fung Wong, which was lashing Taiwan on Monday morning, continued to strengthen as it headed toward the China coast, according to the observatory of southeastern Fujian Province.

The weather service forecast the storm would make landfall near Xiamen City in the province before midnight.

The observatory in eastern Zhejiang Province said the typhoon would sweep across the Taiwan Strait on Monday and make landfall between Xiapu and Jinjiang counties, Fujian at midnight, packing Force-14 winds at 42 meters per second.

Fujian authorities had evacuated 274,300 people and called back about 52,300 fishing boats as of 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Disaster relief personnel were sent to help those on fishing vessels get ashore, said Yang Zhiying, head of the flood control headquarters in Fujian.

Fung Wong, the eighth tropical storm to hit China's coast, would be the strongest of this year. It would strike along China's eastern and southern regions with heavy rain and strong winds, according to observatories in Fujian, Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangxi provinces.


Heavy rain starts to lash Fuzhou, Fujian Province, July 28, 2008. 

The provinces issued orange alerts, or the second highest for bad weather.

The telecoms authority in Fujian has sent more than 20 million text messages to mobile phone users on the typhoon alert.

Fung Wong makes landfall in Taiwan

Strengthening typhoon Fung Wong made landfall in southern Taiwan early on Monday morning, affecting the whole island with wind and rain.

Schools and businesses were closed on Monday.

The eye of the powerful typhoon landed at Hualien County at 6:50 a.m., causing a blackout that affected 15,498 households.

The provincial observatory said the storm affected the whole island, with Force-12 winds and downpours. Yilan County to the northeast of the island received the most rain, which had exceeded 600 millimeters as of midnight.

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