China / Society

Typhoon Kujira makes landfall in south China

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-06-22 20:35

HAIKOU - Typhoon Kujira, the eighth typhoon of 2015,made landfall in south China's Hainan Province on Monday evening, bringing heavy rain to the drought-hit island.

The storm landed in the coastal city of Wanning at 6:50 p.m., packing winds of up to 90 kilometers per hour, said the Hainan Meteorological Service.

Kujira weakened into a tropical storm about one hour after its landfall in Hainan. It moved northwestward at a speed of 15 km per hour, with winds of up to 72 km per hour. It is forecast to reach the Beibu Gulf in the wee hours on Tuesday.

The island province has evacuated more than 40,000 people, and over 20,000 fishing boats in the province have been called back to harbor.

By 7:30 p.m. Monday, 63 flights were canceled at the Meilan International Airport in Haikou, the provincial capital. The Sanya Phoenix International Airport canceled 99 flights, affecting the travel plans of 11,000 passengers.

Shipping services and passenger trains on the Qiongzhou Strait, which connects Hainan and Guangdong, were suspended on Monday.

High-speed trains between Haikou and Sanya were also halted at 6 p.m. Monday, said railway authorities.

All elementary and middle schools in Haikou City will be closed on Tuesday, according to the local government.

Strong gales and heavy rains hit the northern, central and eastern parts of the island on Monday, with the precipitation ranging from 50 mm to 150 mm. The rainy weather will continue until Tuesday.

"The typhoon did not cause heavy losses as the evacuation was carried out in advance," said Wu Yunfeng, Communist Party chief of Hele Town, where Kujira landed.

The timely rain is expected to help ease a prolonged severe drought which has affected 30 percent of the tropical island, causing drinking water shortage for 130,000 people and 119 small reservoirs to dry up.

Sanya, a popular tropical tourist destination, was hit by the worst drought since it began meteorological records in 1959. The city's precipitation since May was 90 percent less than normal years.

Between 8 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. Monday, heavy rains swept the middle area of Sanya with the biggest precipitation of 57 mm, said Ke Weiyao, head of the Sanya Meteorological Bureau.

It is forecast the continuous rainfall will alleviate Sanya's drought, he said.

Kujira is the first typhoon to hit China this year. It was formed in the South China Sea on Sunday.

The National Meteorological Center on Monday afternoon issued a yellow alert for Typhoon Kujira. It forecast storms will hit Sichuan, Shaanxi, Henan, Jiangsu, Anhui and Gansu provinces from Monday to Wednesday.

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