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1st tropical storm this year to hit Hainan Island
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Tropical storm Neoguri, which formed in the South China Sea on Tuesday, strengthened into a typhoon Wednesday afternoon and is approaching the sea south of China's Hainan Island.

Neoguri is the first tropical storm to hit China this year.

The center of the typhoon was spotted 620 kilometers southeast of Sanya City in southern Hainan at 2 p.m. Wednesday, with winds of up to 119 km per hour, according to the Hainan Provincial Meteorological Observatory.

Zhang Chunhua, the observatory's deputy chief, said the center was approaching the sea south of Hainan at a speed of 15 km per hour and forecast to make landing in the southern coast of Hainan Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, or skim over the offshore areas.

Strong gales and moderate to heavy rain were forecast in most parts of Hainan from Thursday to Saturday.

The observatory has urged fishing boats to return to harbor as soon as possible.

(Xinhua News Agency April 17, 2008)

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