A soldier rushes to a local resident who fell near the seacoast as waves from a tidal bore caused by Typhoon Maria surge past a barrier on the banks in Shitang, Wenling city, East China's Zhejiang Province on Wednesday. Photo: IC
Tens of thousands of people were evacuated in China's coastal provinces, multiple flights were cancelled nationwide and highways have been closed as Maria, the eighth typhoon this year, slammed into East China's Fujian Province Wednesday morning.
Maria battered Fujian with gale force winds reaching 160 kilometers per hour, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said on its website on Wednesday.
Official reports show 187,600 people in Fujian were affected by the typhoon. More than 150,000 residents were relocated and that number was expected to rise. Some parts of the province were without power and internet service, the Beijing News reported.
In Fuzhou, capital of Fujian Province, schools and factories in coastal areas were told to close. Shopping malls were also ordered closed, but were set up as emergency centers to ensure the distribution of emergency supplies, local media reported.
The owner of a restaurant in Fuzhou's Pingtan county told the Global Times that the worst of the typhoon had passed by Wednesday noon, but it was still raining throughout the afternoon.
Hours before the typhoon, local residents rushed to supermarkets to stock up on goods, but a food shortage is not expected, Fuzhou Daily reported.
The Fuzhou food control center said it had reserved more than 36,000 pigs, which could supply enough pork to residents for 10 days. The local Haixia vegetable wholesale market also has 5,000 tons of goods in store, local news site hxnews.com reported.
Maria also affected transportation in Fujian. Almost 80 high speed trains from Shanghai, Hefei and Hangzhou via Fuzhou were suspended on Wednesday morning.
As of Wednesday evening, about 200 flights were cancelled in Fuzhou and Xiamen, China News Service reported.
Other regions warned
Maria will also bring gale force winds, high seas and heavy rains to Zhejiang and Hunan provinces, CMA reported.
Zhang Mingying, a meteorologist at the Beijing Meteorological Service, told the Global Times on Wednesday that July and August are when most typhoons occur and hit southern China's Fujian and Guangxi provinces the hardest.
East China's Zhejiang and Jiangxi provinces, along with Southwest China's Sichuan and North China's Beijing and Tianjin, can expect rainstorms until Thursday afternoon.
The CMA warned of the potential for geological disasters in Southwest China's Yunnan, Sichuan, Northwest China's Gansu and Shaanxi provinces over the next few days.
A rain-triggered landslide in southwest China's Sichuan Province killed three people in Nianzi Village, according to local authorities, the Xinhua News Agency said.
The Sichuan provincial flood control headquarters has issued a red alert for geological disasters, which forced the closure of highways that has stranded motorists and passengers.
A 62-year-old man in Zhejiang Province's Wenzhou died when a street post was blown over by high winds on Wednesday, The Beijing News reported.
Multiple provinces announced emergency measures days before the typhoon, suspending businesses, schools, flights and closing scenic spots.
In Zhejiang Province, more than 310,000 people in seven cities had been evacuated as of Tuesday night, and about 20,800 fishing boats and 4,950 other boats had returned to port or were sheltered in safe waters, local news site zjol.com.cn reported.
Fourteen large and medium-sized reservoirs in Zhejiang were ordered to lower water levels Wednesday to prepare for coming floodwaters. In Taizhou, Zhejiang, authorities closed scenic areas and ordered visitors to leave, Xinhua reported.
Shanghai was shrouded in black clouds and strong winds howled throughout the city on Wednesday.
Local residents reached by the Global Times said news alerts warned them of the coming typhoon.
Chen Min, a local Shanghai resident, told the Global Times on Wednesday that winds began to get stronger Tuesday night.
He said people of slight build "might have difficulty walking in the wind."
Maria also affected residents in northern China.
Beijing issued a blue rainstorm alert on Wednesday, reminding local residents to take precautions and suggested schools close early if needed.
More than 30 flights from Beijing were cancelled on Wednesday afternoon, the Beijing News reported citing officials.
Newspaper headline: Typhoon Maria hits coastal provinces