Wipha heads north, hitting East China

Updated: 2007-09-19 19:01

NANJING -- A weakened typhoon Wipha is moving northwards after crashing into East China's coast on Wednesday morning, unleashing heavy rains and forcing thousands to be evacuated.

Wipha was downgraded to a tropical storm at 11:00 am on Wednesday with wind speeds at its eye measuring 83 kilometers per hour, and is moving northwestward at a speed of 15 km per hour, according to the meteorological bureau in Jiangsu.

The storm has brought heavy downpours to Jiangsu, with rainfall in some cities reaching more than 150 millimeters.

More than 39,000 people in the province have been relocated from coastal and low-lying areas, and 12,000 vessels have been recalled to harbor. Schools were closed on Wednesday in Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou and Yancheng.

Neighboring Shandong province issued a typhoon warning on Wednesday, forecasting rainstorms across the province in the next 24 hours and high tides. All boats and ships in Qingdao and Yantai have been recalled.

A women's World Cup football match between Australia and Canada, which had been planned for Wednesday in Chengdu, has been moved to Thursday. Another match between Norway and Ghana has been put off to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday and moved from Shanghai to Hangzhou.

Wipha, which made landfall in Zhejiang province at 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, has killed at least one person and paralyzed traffic along the east coast of China.

Latest statistics from the local flood control authorities show the typhoon has affected more than 6.5 million people in Fujian and Zhejiang, wrecking thousands of homes and inflicting economic losses of more than 4.8 billion yuan. The figures are expected to rise.


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