China’s most populous city Shanghai and outlying areas were bracing for Typhoon Wipha on Tuesday, relocating hundreds of thousands of people to safer areas.
The typhoon, a storm packing winds of more than 180km/h was expected to make landfall in east China around midnight, after gale-force winds and driving rains have first swiped northern Taiwan.
Shanghai, a city of 17-million people, and the heavily populated neighbouring provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian were on high alert as officials warned residents to get ready for the worst.
Chinese meteorologist were particularly concerned that Wipha, which at 3.30am GMT was about 400km from the shore, was building strength as it churned towards Shanghai.
“This is the first time in 10 years that the eye of the storm will probably make landfall in Shanghai,” said Ding Ruoyang, a meteorologist at the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.
Up to 200ml of rain is expected to pelt the city, while winds could gust above 102km/h an hour, prompting officials to begin evacuation procedures for 200 000 people.
“The evacuation includes residents who live in old and dangerous houses, workers who live in temporary construction site structures as well as workers living near the shore,” Ding said.
Meanwhile, in Zhejiang provincial flood control headquarters has warned the public to also relocate residents, patrol reservoirs and brace for geological disasters.
Food and water was being stored, while ferry service had been suspended, and fishing vessels had been ordered back to harbour, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.
The Fujian provincial government had also issued warnings.
Typhoons regularly hit China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea toward the end of August and September.
Earlier this month Typhoon Fitow walloped Japan, killing seven people, while on Sunday, Typhoon Nari killed at least nine in South Korea. – AFP