Eastern China readies itself for super Typhoon Lekima


China’s weather bureau issued a red alert early on Friday as super Typhoon Lekima approached Zhejiang province on the eastern coast, after forcing flight cancellations in Taiwan and shutting markets and businesses on the island.

China’s National Meteorological Centre (NMC) said the typhoon, the strongest since 2014, was expected to hit the mainland early on Saturday and then turn north. It has issued gale warnings for the Yangtze river delta region, which includes Shanghai.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV showed preparations being made in fishing harbours in Zhejiang, with fishermen taking refuge in a relatively protected port in Xiangshan county.

CCTV said authorities have warned residents and tourists in coastal areas likely to be hit by Lekima. Elsewhere, CCTV showed a fruit farmer on the outskirts of Shanghai trying to pick as many peaches as possible at his farm before the storm.

More than 300 flights to and from Taiwan have been cancelled, and cruise liners have been asked to delay their arrival in Shanghai.

The typhoon left the Philippines shortly after midnight Friday, but continued to enhance monsoon rains throughout the day in the Philippines. Here, workers carry plastic plants over floodwaters in Manila. (Aaron Favila/The Associated Press)

As winds picked up in Eastern Zhejiang, Ningbo Airport cancelled 45 domestic flights on Friday, an official told CCTV.

Dozens of trains were also cancelled on both the coastal line from Ningbo to Wenzhou and the line to Hangzhou.

Elsewhere, several flights were cancelled on Friday from Shanghai.

Beijing also said it would cancel several trains heading to and from typhoon-hit eastern regions in the Yangtze delta region.

Heavy rain and Level 10 gales are expected to hit Shanghai on Friday and continue until Sunday, with 16,000 suburban residents set to be moved to safety, the official Shanghai Daily reported.

The NMC warned 24-hour rainfall levels across eastern China could reach around 250 to 320 millimetres from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon. 

Port authorities have been ordered to take action, with ships set to be diverted to Hong Kong to help prevent accidents and collisions.

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