Tropical storm lashes south China
Gale-force winds and heavy rains lashed coastal areas along the Qiongzhou Strait yesterday, as this year's 14th tropical storm, Francisco, made landfall at noon in Hainan Province.
Local flood-control and drought-relief offices in Guangdong, Hainan, Guangxi and Fujian provinces are all keeping a close eye on the development of the storm, as it is expected to bring more heavy rain to western coastal areas of south China.
According to the Xinhua News Agency, the storm has already caused a fishing boat with eight people on board to capsize. Two people have so far been rescued, but six are still missing.
The tropical storm, with winds of nearly 72kph at its center, landed in Wenchang on the island province of Hainan at 12:30 yesterday. It was expected to move westward and arrive in the Beibu Bay area last night.
Storm Francisco makes landfall in Hainan
Tropical storm Francisco, the 14th such storm to hit China this year, made landfall in south China's Hainan Province shortly after midday on Monday.
The tropical storm, bringing winds of 72 km per hour, landed at Changfa Township in Wenchang county at 12:30 PM, according to the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
Details of the damage or any casualties caused by the storm are not yet known.
The flood control bureau issued a level four warning (with level one as the strongest) at 10?AM on Monday and dispatched a four-member team to Hainan to guide the province's efforts in fighting the storm.
The four local governments of Hainan, Guangdong and Fujian provinces, and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region all issued circulars ordering all fishing boats and ships to return to land.
Francisco formed on Saturday night over the south China Sea and intensified into a tropical storm on Sunday morning.
Whirling at a speed of 15 to 20 kilometers per hour northwestward, Francisco is expected to reach the northern part of the Beibu Gulf, south of Guangxi, on Monday night.
Tropical Storm Wipha Approaches China
Wipha, the 13th tropical storm this year on heels of Nari, was approaching China, said sources with the provincial meteorological observatory of Zhejiang on Sunday.
Formed at 8 AM Sunday on the sea of northeast Philippines, the tropical storm was located at 20.6 degrees north and 130.7 degrees east at 2 PM, about 1,360 kilometers away from east China's Zhejiang Province, according to the observatory.
Wipha, packing winds of 83 kilometers per hour at its eye, is heading northwestwards at a speed of 20 kilometers per hour and gaining momentum. It is forecasted to enter the east China Sea on Monday night or Tuesday morning and unleash gales.
The meteorological observatory warned local people to be alert of the storm.
Wipha is originally a woman's name in the Thai language.
Sound preparations lower casualties from Wipha
Effective preparations and accurate weather forecasts greatly reduced the number of casualties caused by typhoon Wipha, Zheng Guoguang, head of the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), said on Thursday.
"Up to now only five people have died from landslides triggered by the heavy rain. The number of casualties is rare in history," said Zheng.
The fact that the central government has paid great attention to natural disasters was one of the reasons for the few casualties, while meteorological authorities stepped up forecasts to allow local governments to have time to evacuate people, Zheng added.
A total of 2.67 million people in Zhejiang, Fujian, Shanghai and Jiangsu had been relocated by Wednesday, said the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The typhoon destroyed more than 9,600 houses and damaged 42,000 others.
E. China on high alert as Wipha approaches
East China is on high alert as typhoon Wipha, upgraded from a regular to a severe typhoon on Monday afternoon, approaches the country's coastal areas.
Shanghai and the provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian are preparing to face the full brunt of Wipha. The Shanghai meteorological observatory has warned that it could cause "the worst damage in recent years."
Both the Zhejiang and Fujian bureaus have issued warnings and recalled all maritime vessels.
A senior official with the Zhejiang Maritime Safety Administration said that Wipha would hit the province directly, unlike this year¡¯s previous typhoons that landed first in Taiwan before hitting the mainland.
"The impact and damage from Wipha could be extraordinary, and gales and waves caused by it could be the strongest of this year," the official said.
Super typhoon hits east China
Typhoon Wipha packing winds of 45 meters per second landed in Cangnan County, Wenzhou of east China's Zhejiang Province at 2:30 AM Wednesday.
More than 2 million people in east China have been relocated before the landfall of Wipha, which might be the most destructive typhoon in a decade.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday ordered related provinces and cities to step up preparations against Wipha, recall vessels to harbor and relocate people to safety.
Super typhoon Wipha was downgraded to a severe typhoon on Tuesday evening with speed of winds at its center reducing from 198 km per hour at 4:00 PM to 180 km per hour at 8:00 PM, according to the Fujian meteorological bureau.
It has churned up winds of up to 90 km per hour in the coast of Zhejiang. The province has received an average 31.8 mm of rain from 5:00 PM Monday to 2:00 PM Tuesday, with the maximum rainfall measuring 162 mm in some cities, the station said.
Wipha kills 5, weakens to tropical storm
Typhoon Wipha spared Shanghai and Hangzhou the brunt of its fury but still caused extensive damage in the east coast with torrential rains and strong winds.
Five people were killed and three were missing in the aftermath of the typhoon, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said last night, without giving details of the casualties.
Xinhua reported earlier that one died when his house collapsed, and three were injured in Zhejiang Province as Wipha landed in Cangnan, Wenzhou, at 2:30?AM with winds of up to 160 kph.
It destroyed 669 houses, disrupted power supplies to 1,867 villages, and affected about 5 million people, causing losses worth 2.9 billion yuan ($380 million) in Zhejiang.
Forecast to be potentially the most destructive typhoon in a decade, Wipha forced the evacuation of more than 2.6 million people in east China.
(China.org.cn September 26, 2007)