Violent Weather in Southern China

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Typhoon Prapiroon slams into China’s coast

Rail service cut, 65,000 evacuated ahead of storm’s landfall in south
The Associated Press


Updated: 10:49 a.m. ET Aug. 3, 2006
SHANGHAI, China - A typhoon slammed into southern China on Thursday, packing heavy rain and 75 mph winds as authorities evacuated tens of thousands of people from their homes.

Typhoon Prapiroon, which killed six people earlier in the Philippines, made landfall at 7:20 p.m. over a large swath of coastal Guangdong province, including the cities of Yangjiang and Dianbai, according to the state meteorological bureau.

No reports from the area assessing the damage were immediately available.

In preparation, authorities evacuated 65,000 people from parts of Guangdong and the neighboring island province of Hainan, and ferry and railway services were suspended.

More than 50,000 boats also were ordered to return to port in Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan provinces, official media said. Rescue teams throughout the area were alert for floods and landslides.

Strong winds and heavy rains were forecast through Saturday for large parts of Guangdong and Hainan, China’s southernmost island and a popular tourist destination. The storm was moving northwest at 9 mph to 12 mph, the meteorological bureau said.

It came on the heels of Typhoon Kaemi, which killed at least 35 people and left dozens missing in southern China last week, and Tropical Storm Bilis, which sparked floods and landslides that killed more than 600 people in the region last month.

Prapiroon is “as strong, if not stronger” than Bilis, said Gao Shuanzhu, a senior official at the China’s national observatory, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

In Hong Kong, hundreds of airline flights were delayed, canceled or redirected, stranding more than 3,000 passengers. At least one person was injured Wednesday when empty shipping containers were toppled by high winds at a container terminal in the city.

A cargo vessel and barge also ran aground on islands off the territory’s coast, said Jack Chak, a spokesman for the Government Flying Service. Dozens of crew members were rescued, but there were no reports of injuries or deaths.

Prapiroon, named after the Thai rain god, is the region’s eighth major storm of the season.

More than 1,460 people have been killed during this year’s typhoon season, which started unusually early. Chinese officials estimate more than 1 million houses have been damaged and millions of acres of farmland and forests destroyed.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has issued an appeal for $4.8 million to provide food, tents and quilts for 240,000 people left homeless by floods caused by typhoons.

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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