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Super typhoon Usagi to batter South China

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-09-22 19:23

XIAMEN - Super typhoon Usagi, one of the strongest storms of the year, is nearing China's southern and southeastern coast on Sunday, leaving school classes suspended and disrupting air traffic.

The typhoon was monitored at 22.6 degrees north latitude and 116.2 degrees east longitude at sea near the city of Shanwei in southern China's Guangdong Province at 8 pm Sunday, packing winds of 45 meters per second at the storm's eye, according to the National Meteorological Center (NMC)

The NMC forecast it would make a landfall between the cities of Huilai and Huidong in Guangdong Sunday evening.

Frontier police in the city of Shanwei, Guangdong, have directed more than 8,000 fishing boats to return to harbor by noon on Sunday to avoid strong gales.

More than 1,200 local residents in the city have been evacuated to temporary settlements.

Guangdong Province, a major base for Chinese nuclear power stations, has initiated emergency response schemes to brace for the typhoon.

Four of the six power generating units at the Dayawan nuclear power base have been ordered to operate at reduced load. Outdoor construction has been prohibited at the Yangjiang and Taishan nuclear power plants, according to the China General Nuclear Power Group, which runs the plants.

Schools in Guangzhou, capital city of Guangdong, and Xiamen City on the eastern coast of nearby Fujian Province called off classes on Sunday morning. Shipping transport between Fujian and Taiwan was suspended as Usagi brought strong winds and downpours to its offshore region.

On Sunday, major Chinese airlines canceled flights to cities in Guangdong and Fujian provinces as well as to Hong Kong and Macao due to the possibility that local airports would be battered by heavy rains and strong gales starting at noon on Sunday.

Although the typhoon was still hundreds of kilometers away, related storms have already taken out three major power lines, cutting off electricity supply to about 170,000 households in Fujian at 7 am.

Electricians from power companies are rushing to repair the damage. By noon, there were still 25,000 households suffering power outage.

The Fujian Provincial Flood Control Headquarters warned that sea storm tides would threaten coastal embankments starting at 2 pm on Sunday as the typhoon coincides with astronomical tide.

Thousands of people have been evacuated from low-lying coastal areas in the province. The flood control headquarters has ordered reinforced patrols so that emergency repairs can be made to prevent embankment breaches.

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