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Typhoon Neoguri reaches land in south China
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Typhoon Neoguri hit land on Friday evening in south China's Hainan Province and weakened into a severe tropical storm, the local meteorological observatory said.

Ships sway in strong wind at the Qinglan harbor of Wenchang City, south China's Hainan Province, April 18, 2008. About 120,000 people have been evacuated from fish farms and low-lying coastal areas to safer places in the province as Typhoon Neoguri approaches the island. Neoguri was 120 kilometers southeast of Wenchang City at 3 PM on Friday, packing winds of about 120 km per hour. It is forecast to make landfall in the coastal area of Wenchang between midnight on Friday and 4 AM on Saturday.

It landed at Longlou Town, Wenchang City, in the northeast of the island at 10:30 PM, packing winds of up to 108 kilometers per hour, according to Hainan Provincial Meteorological Observatory.

More than 42,000 residents in five major cities had been moved to safe places by noon, and the evacuation of 5,500 others was still under way, according to the local flood control authority.

The city was thrown into darkness after the typhoon cut off power supply. Only a number of hotels survived with the backup of their own generators.

At least 76 flights have been canceled due to the unfavorable climate since 9:25 PM.

All of the 3,000 stranded passengers in the Meilan Airport of Haikou, the capital, have either been allocated to hotels or changed their flights.

The island's fishing authorities have recalled 80,000 fishermen and 21,800 boats from sea.

Train services via ferries across the Qiongzhou Strait between the island and the mainland have been suspended.

No casualties have been reported so far.

Rainstorms are expected to hit the island from Friday to Saturday, with the maximum precipitation reaching 150 millimeter in the east.

Neoguri, the first typhoon to approach south China this year, continued to move north towards neighboring Guangdong Province.

Guangdong flood control authorities said residents in low-lying areas and dangerous houses had all been evacuated to safety. About 20,000 boats in Guangdong have returned to port.

A tree is blown down by strong wind in Wenchang City, Hainan Province, April 18, 2008.

A minibus drives past trees blown down by strong wind in Wenchang City, Hainan Province, April 18, 2008.

An advertisement board is blown down in Wenchang City, Hainan Province, April 18, 2008.

A woman holds her umbrella in winds at the Qinglan Harbor of Wenchang City, Hainan Province, April 18.

(Xinhua News Agency April 19, 2008)

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