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Typhoon Vicente threatens China's southern provinces
Publication Date : 24-07-2012
Typhoon Vicente was barrelling toward China's Guangdong and Hainan provinces and part of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region yesterday night and early this morning, according to meteorological authorities.
Because of the typhoon, ferry service across Qiongzhou Strait has been suspended since 6 p.m. on Sunday, leaving many passengers and vehicles stranded in Haikou, Hainan province, and the Leizhou Peninsula in western Guangdong.
Train service between Beijing and Sanya in Hainan, as well as between Haikou and Shanghai, Changsha, Xi'an and Chengdu, has been rescheduled due to the suspension of rail ferry service between Guangdong and Hainan.
Local authorities said the ferry service will not be restored until this afternoon, when Vicente weakens.
In Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, 16 flights from Shenzhen Baoan International Airport were cancelled yesterday because of the bad weather, and 10 ferry services linking the airport to Hong Kong and Macao were cancelled.
Authorities have also cancelled six helicopter flights to Macao because of the storm.
In Guangzhou, many passengers were stranded in Baiyun International Airport after nine domestic flights were cancelled and 153 others delayed due to the storm.
Only 41 per cent of domestic flights could take off from the airport as scheduled, according to an official from the airport yesterday.
Vicente is so far the strongest typhoon to hit China's coastal areas this year.
According to the Guangdong provincial meteorological observatory, the powerful rainstorm lashing Pearl River Delta cities will not subside until Thursday.
Some cities in South China have already been hit by raging storms in previous two days.
Haikou had 113.5 millimetres of rain and wind gusting at close to 70 kilometres per hour on Sunday night and yesterday morning.
Huang Jianxue, a resident of Haikou, said the gale was so strong that many people stayed indoors yesterday.
"I was soaked to the bone when I got home from work," he said.
"Peoples' raincoats were whipped around by the gales," he added.
The city's meteorological centre issued a red storm alert yesterday, the highest warning level in China's four-tier color-coded weather warning system.
By noon on Monday, 2,486 fishing boats had returned to typhoon shelters in Haikou.
On Yongxing island in Sansha, Hainan, many coconut palms were toppled by the winds.
Cities in the Pearl River Delta, including Guangzhou, have been struck by the storms in the past two days. In Huizhou, Zhuhai, Yangjiang, Zhanjiang and Maoming, downtown streets were flooded after the downpours.
Liu Kun, deputy governor of Guangdong, has urged cities in the coastal areas to do what they can to avoid casualties and minimise economic loss.
"All the fishing boats must return to safe waters before Vicente makes landfall," he said at a work conference yesterday.
He said priority must be given to protecting agriculture, water conservancy projects and coastal and river dikes.
In Yangjiang alone, more than 6,500 fishing boats had returned to typhoon shelters ahead of Vicente.
Huang Yuli in Shenzhen, Guangdong, contributed to this story.