Ports close in China's island province of Hainan as tropical storm Chaba looms

Chaba originated in the South China Sea and is expected to reach southern China imminently. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM ZOOM.EARTH

SHANGHAI (REUTERS, XINHUA) - Local authorities in China’s Hainan province on Friday (July 1) announced the closure of three ports as weather forecasters reclassified Chaba as a severe tropical storm that was expected to make landfall over the weekend.

Chaba, currently east of Hainan, will move at a speed of 15-20km per hour, gradually strengthening in intensity, forecasters said.

The National Meteorological Centre said that ships and boats should take shelter at harbours and advised the relevant areas to take measures to prevent torrential floods and geological disasters.

Hainan has started Level III emergency response for flood control and wind prevention and suspended ferry services in the Qiongzhou Strait at 8am on Friday.

Strong winds and severe downpours are expected to lash the coastal areas of Hainan, Guangdong and Guangxi from Friday to Monday.

Railway services in the tropical island province will adjust schedules depending on the weather conditions.

Chaba is expected to make landfall on the eastern coast of Hainan Island and the mainland’s western Guangdong province over Saturday afternoon to early Sunday morning.

The storm may further intensify into a full-fledged typhoon by the time it hits land, forecasters said.

In a statement, the transportation and shipping authority in provincial capital Haikou said Haikou Xiuying Port, Xinhai Port and Railway South Port will close from July 1 and are expected to re-open on July 4.

Chaba originated in the South China Sea and is expected to hit Guangdong, Hainan and nearby areas with strong winds and heavy rain.

Hong Kong authorities raised a typhoon warning on Thursday just as Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in the city to commemorate the 25th anniversary of its handover from Britain.

Earlier this week, China’s National Defense General Office issued a level four emergency response and sent two working groups to Guangdong province and the Guangxi region to assist and guide typhoon prevention work, according to Chinese state media.

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