Ships anchor at a harbor of Haikou, capital of southmost China's Hainan Province, April 17, 2008. 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. [Xinhua]
China's National Meteorological Center (NMC) issued a warning against typhoon Neoguri on Thursday afternoon, forecasting it was likely to land along the southeastern coast of Hainan Province or skim over the offshore areas between Friday afternoon or Saturday morning.
The latest forecast at 5 p.m. showed that the center of Neoguri was 350 kilometers southeast of the Sanya city in southern Hainan, packing winds up to 136.8 kilometers per hour.
Typhoon Neoguri would affect southern Hainan and Guangdong provinces, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and southeastern Fujian Province, according to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA).
Chen Lei, Minister of Water Resources, said on Thursday,"This strong typhoon is coming at an unexpectedly early time and it is a great challenge for the country's anti-typhoon undertakings."
Typhoon Neoguri was about half month early than the previous earliest tropical storm landing on Ledong County, in southwestern Hainan province on May 3, 1971.
(Xinhua News Agency April 18, 2008)