Thursday, September 29, 2011

Typhoon shuts down Hong Kong, hits China

Terra Daily via AFP: A powerful typhoon brought Hong Kong to a shutdown Thursday, with financial markets and businesses forced to close as it swept past before slamming into the Chinese island of Hainan. Typhoon Nesat, which claimed 35 lives when it barrelled across the Philippines this week, buffeted Hong Kong with winds of up to 121 kilometres (75 miles) an hour.

Weather authorities in mainland China issued the first red typhoon alert of the year as Nesat gained momentum near Hainan, an island popular with tourists. China's National Meteorological Centre warned of flooding and mudslide risks on Hainan and urged the cancellation of all outdoor activities.

About 300,000 people were evacuated in Hainan in the face of the strongest typhoon to hit China this year as it landed in Wenchang city packing winds of up to 151 kilometres an hour. Authorities in the island province called boats back to port, suspended flight and ferry services and closed schools, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

In Vietnam, authorities said fishing boats should return to port and urged farmers to harvest crops quickly to reduce potential losses from Nesat, which is expected to reach northern provinces on Friday. The Hong Kong Observatory hoisted a number-eight tropical cyclone warning before dawn, triggering the closure of schools and transport services, and authorities opened typhoon shelters for those seeking refuge...

Typhoon Nesat over the South China Sea on September 28, 2011. Shot by NASA

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