Southern China braces for super typhoon

Updated: 2010-10-21 08:31
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HONG KONG - Residents scrambled to stockpile food and authorities ordered ships to remain docked as southern China geared up Wednesday for Typhoon Megi after it killed 15 people and wiped out crops in the northern Philippines.

The storm, a super typhoon until it slammed into the northern Philippines on Monday and lost power, was expected to slowly travel toward the southern Chinese coast, making landfall on Saturday.

Southern China braces for super typhoon
Police officers are dispatched to advise fishermen to get back to ports on Oct 18, 2010, ahead of typhoon Megi landing in Hainan. [Photo/Asianewsphoto]

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The typhoon packed sustains winds of 140 mph (225 kph) when it struck the Philippines on Monday, toppling homes and flooding rice and corn fields. Authorities reported 15 dead in Cagayan, Isabela and Pangasinan provinces, including several people who drowned after being pinned by fallen trees.

On Wednesday, Megi had nearly stalled in the South China Sea, about 220 miles (350 kilometres) west of Luzon Island packing maximum winds of 108 miles (175 kilometres) per hour and gusts of up to 130 mph (210 kph), but was forecast to move on after about 12 hours, according to the Philippine weather bureau.

The typhoon was expected to make its next landfall on the central or western coast of China's Guangdong province, the Guangdong Meteorological Bureau said on its website.

In Guangdong, officials ordered all fishing boats to return by the end of Tuesday, put the provincial flood control headquarters on alert and warned reservoirs to watch their water levels, the Xinhua News Agency reported. In the southern island province of Hainan, residents in the provincial capital Haikou rushed to supermarkets to stock up on food, vegetables and bottled water, Xinhua said.

In the southern financial hub Hong Kong, locals prepared to cancel activities this weekend but the mood was calm.

No evacuations have been ordered so far in the densely populated city of 7 million whose infrastructure has traditionally held up well against the annual summer barrage of typhoons. The weather was cloudy on Wednesday but the Hong Kong Observatory has predicted intensifying winds and torrential rains over the next few days.

Local media warned residents to prepare for the worst, with the Apple Daily declaring in a front-page headline, "The strongest typhoon in history, Megi, rushing toward Hong Kong."

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