China braces for Typhoon Muifa

August 7th, 2011 - 8:37 am ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 7 (IANS) Over 200,000 people were evacuated Saturday evening in Shanghai, while about 230,000 residents were relocated from the coastal areas of Zhejiang province, as Typhoon Muifa approached the east China coast.

Shanghai’s meteorological station forecast that Typhoon Muifa is most likely to brush Shanghai and continue moving northward, rather than making landfall over Zhejiang province or Shanghai as previously expected, according to Xinhua.

Muifa, the ninth typhoon to hit China this year, was located about 630 km from Shanghai Saturday morning and was moving northwestward at a speed of 18 km per hour.

It was expected to brush Shanghai late Saturday night with its center 200 km east of the city, said an official named Wu Rui with the meteorological station.

A total of 75 flights scheduled to depart from Shanghai Saturday afternoon were cancelled, but no flights had been affected in the morning, according to the airport authority.

The Hangzhou Xiaoshan international airport in Zhejiang’s capital Hangzhou saw the cancellation of 140 flights Saturday.

Air China cancelled all inbound and outbound flights scheduled Saturday afternoon, said airport staff.

Shanghai railway authorities have established an emergency response plan and stepped up inspection for high-speed railway facilities.

According to the plan, if Muifa packs winds of 62 km per hour in Shanghai, subway trains will be operated manually with a speed limit of 50 km per hour. If the wind speed is over 89 km per hour, the trains will be stopped.

Bullet trains will also have various speed limits depending on the wind speed.

The bullet train services would be suspended if winds reach over 108 km per hour, officials said.

In Fujian, flood control authorities called back more than 5,000 fishing vessels to harbour, while in Zhejiang, over 4,000 vessels were called back.

China’s National Marine Environmental Forecasting Centre issued a red alert for high sea waves, the highest alert in the four-level high wave warning system.

The centre said the East China Sea will see waves of five to 11 metres high till Sunday morning.

Muifa is expected not to get any stronger and could abate somewhat while sweeping along the eastern coastal area, it said.

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