Wednesday, October 20, 2010

China braces for Typhoon Megi

Marianne Barriaux in AFP: Chinese authorities on Wednesday ordered fishermen back to shore and halted rail services as Typhoon Megi, the strongest storm to hit the northwest Pacific since 1990, barrelled towards the mainland. Megi has already wreaked havoc in the Philippines, killing at least 19 people and leaving relief workers scrambling to deliver aid to devastated, remote towns.

It is now making its way towards southern China, where it is expected to make landfall in the southern province of Guangdong on Saturday, the National Meteorological Centre said. "We expect that the strong winds and torrential rain brought by Megi will increase the probability of geological disasters happening in the south such as floods, land and mudslides," the centre warned.

…China's state-run Xinhua news agency, citing the State Oceanic Administration, has said that Guangdong could see storm-triggered waves of up to seven metres (21 feet). Reservoirs and hydroelectric stations in Guangdong have been put on high alert, and local flood control officials have been told to ensure the safety of venues for the upcoming Asian Games in the provincial capital Guangzhou.

In Hainan, which is still reeling from recent severe flooding, authorities have halted passenger train services, and residents in the island's capital Haikou have flocked to supermarkets to stock up on goods, state media said.

…Megi, which according to the Hong Kong Observatory is currently packing winds of 185 kilometres (115 miles) an hour, is the strongest storm seen worldwide so far this year….

Megi makes landfall in the Philippines, October 18, from NASA

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