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Haikui approaches eastern coast

Updated: 2012-08-07 09:14
( Xinhua)

Haikui approaches eastern coast

Dark clouds cover the sky in downtown Shanghai, August 6, 2012. [Photo/Xinhua]

HANGZHOU - Severe tropical storm Haikui strengthened into a typhoon as of 5 pm Monday as it approached the coastal area of East China's Zhejiang province, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) said.

While gradually strengthening, Haikui is expected to make landfall on the north-central regions of Zhejiang on midnight Tuesday or Wednesday morning, the NMC said.

More than 130,000 people have been evacuated since Sunday and more than 30,000 ships are parking at port to avoid the typhoon, the provincial flood control and draught relief headquarters said.

The Zhejiang Electric Power Corporation has prepared 140 emergency repair teams of more than 8,200 people to insure the electricity supply during the typhoon.

Haikui, the 11th tropical storm of the year, was moving northwest 200 kilometers off Japan's southernmost Okinawa prefecture early Sunday morning.

It has brought gusts and heavy rainfall to some coastal regions of Zhejiang.

On Monday afternoon, the provincial flood control headquarters required local governments to ensure that all fishery work ships were at port or in safe waters.

Neighboring Shanghai also issued a blue alert against the typhoon on Monday and relocated over 200,000 people to avoid risks.

Chinese meteorological authorities use a four-tier color-coded weather warning system, with red being the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

Heavy rains will hit many areas in south and east China from Sunday to Tuesday as Haikui approaches the mainland, while stormy weather caused by typhoons Saola and Damrey will continue to affect China's coastal regions, according to the NMC.