Thousands of passengers were left stranded at Shanghai's airports yesterday morning after scores of flights were delayed as Typhoon Goni pounded the Chinese coastal city with heavy rain, flooding its runways and roads.
More than 4,000 passengers were waiting in the terminal building of Hongqiao International Airport as of noon yesterday as their flights could not take off, according to a Shanghai Daily report.
Some 57 flights had been delayed at Hongqiao and another 102 delayed at Pudong International Airport - the city's other major airport - as of 7pm, according to the authorities. More than 140 flights were also cancelled at both airports.
The Straits Times understands that no flights between Singapore and Shanghai yesterday were delayed by the floods.
Pictures circulating online showed flight crew walking on tables above flood waters to get from the terminal building to buses that would ferry them to the plane. Some passengers were also seen wading through ankle-deep water as they exited the airport subway stop yesterday morning, when the torrential rains lashed the city the hardest.
The Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said the combined effect of Typhoon Goni and a cold front had caused the heavy downpours. The torrential rains and gusty winds are expected to last through the night before tapering off as the storm moves farther from the city, it added. It downgraded its storm alert from orange to yellow in the evening, the lowest of three levels.
The situation yesterday improved through the day as the heavy rains abated, with the civil aviation authorities saying at 5pm that both airports' operations were gradually returning to normal as flooding on the runways subsided.
Goni has killed at least 26 people in landslides and floods in the Philippines and the storm, which has since lost some strength, now barrels towards southern Japan.
More than 30,000 people were evacuated in the northern Philippines due to fears of flooding and landslides as nearly 1,000 homes were destroyed, according to a Reuters report.
More than 5,000 people were also marooned in eight villages in Ilocos Sur province. Army trucks were moving north after soldiers cleared roads of uprooted trees and toppled power lines, it added.
Packing gusts of up to 252kmh, Goni was moving just north of the main island in Japan's Okinawa island chain and is on course directly to hit Kyushu island today, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
Five people sustained minor injuries as it brushed over Ishigaki island, reported Agence France-Presse.
Thousands in Taiwan were also evacuated from outlying islands and mountainous areas as a precaution, the news agency added.