Typhoon causes transport chaos in eastern China

More than a million evacuated; Chan-hom brushing past Shanghai before heading to the Korean peninsula

SHANGHAI • Typhoon Chan-hom swiped eastern China yesterday, paralysing transport links and devastating farmland as the authorities evacuated more than a million people, the government and state media said.

The storm, which killed five people in the Philippines earlier in the week and injured more than 20 people in Japan on Friday, made landfall at around 4.40pm local time on an island near the city of Ningbo in Zhejiang province, the National Meteorological Centre (NMC) said. Ningbo is located in the southern part of Shanghai.

There were no immediate reports of casualties from the storm, which forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights and bus and rail services.

More than 600 flights at four airports in Zhejiang were cancelled, the official Xinhua news agency said, while in Shanghai, the city's two airports said more than 400 flights were cancelled. Some 330 long-distance bus and several train journeys were also cancelled in Shanghai, according to reports.

Singapore's Changi Airport said the typhoon affected 18 flights.

The NMC maintained its highest red alert for the storm despite having earlier downgraded it from "super" to "strong".

Zhejiang evacuated 1.07 million people and called its entire fishing fleet back to port, state media said.

Powerful winds blew down trees and street signs across Zhejiang and knocked down an unoccupied building in the city of Cixi, provincial television reported.

In Zhejiang's Sanmen county, local television showed dozens of melons floating in a flooded field, as a farmer lamented his lost harvest. "There might be no crop this year," he said.

Shanghai forecast the typhoon would "brush" within 100km of the city late yesterday or early today as it veered into the Yellow Sea, according to a local government posting on its official microblog. The Shanghai government urged residents to stay home and cancelled several public events as rain picked up towards midday.

The NMC said Chan-hom also brought heavy rains to the eastern provinces of Fujian and Jiangsu, which evacuated hundreds of thousands of people.

The typhoon is the second storm to hit China in days after severe tropical storm Linfa made landfall on the coast of Guangdong province further south.

The United States government's Joint Typhoon Warning Centre forecast that Chan-hom would next head towards the Korean peninsula, bringing gale-force winds to the west coast of South Korea.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 12, 2015, with the headline 'Typhoon causes transport chaos in eastern China'. Print Edition | Subscribe