Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

China prepares to face Typhoon Megi

An electric pole remains leaning at Ilagan township after typhoon Megi hit Isabela province in the north-eastern Philippines (AP)
Lorendo Gines, below left, and his relatives, remove the concrete wall that buried his house (AP)
Lorendo Gines, surveys the damage to his house at Ilagan township (AP)

Residents have scrambled to stockpile food and authorities have ordered ships to remain docked as southern China gears up 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 towards the southern Chinese coast, making landfall on Saturday.

The typhoon brought winds of 140 mph 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.

But now Megi has nearly stalled in the South China Sea, about 220 miles west of Luzon Island, with maximum winds of 108 miles per hour and gusts of up to 130 mph, 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, China's official 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 seven 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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