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Tropical storm 'Molave' closes to southeast China
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Molave, the world's sixth tropical storm this year, has strengthened and is expected to make a landfall in coastal areas of southeast China, said the National Meteorological Center (NMC) Friday.

At 4 p.m. Friday, the center of the storm was at 340 km southeast of Hengchun, Taiwan, packing winds of up to 100 kilometers per hour.

It is moving northwest at 15 to 20 km per hour and was approaching the southern coastal areas of southeast China's Fujian Province and neighboring Guangdong Province, and strengthening, said the NMC.

The storm will enter the northeastern region of the South China Sea on Saturday morning, bringing torrential rain and strong winds to the two provinces at the weekend, according to the forecast.

Molave, which formed as a tropical depression at sea to the east of Philippines, gained momentum to become a tropical storm at 8 p.m. Thursday.

The NMC raised the alarm level for Molave from VI to III at 8:40 a.m. in response to the strengthening storm, urging passing vessels in its path to avoid the storm's route or return to harbor.

The agency also asked city authorities to reinforce establishments at risk of the strong winds, such as billboards, and advised the public to avoid working high above the ground or gathering in the open.

The Fujian provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Department forecast the storm may possibly become a typhoon and urged people in its path to relocate to safe areas and fishing boats avoid the storm's path.

(Xinhua News Agency July 17, 2009)

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