Soulik batters Taiwan, Fujian coast
Updated: 2013-07-14 10:03
By Sun Li and Hu Meidong in Fuzhou (China Daily)
Typhoon Soulik, the strongest typhoon to hit China so far this year, struck mainland's Fujian province on Saturday, after slamming Taiwan with heavy rain, leaving one dead and more than 30 people injured on the island.
Soulik made landfall at 4 pm in Lianjiang county, Fuzhou, capital city of Fujian, with peak wind gusts of 118.8 km per hour, according to the National Meteorological Center. It brought strong winds and torrential downpours to the province's cities of Fuzhou, Ningde, Nanping and Putian in Southeast China.
"Given such strong wind that almost rips off tree branches, I would get off duty ahead of time and stay in my house," said Chen Xinhui, a taxi driver in Fuzhou.
Zhuo Feng, director of the flood control and drought relief office of Xiapu county, Ningde city, said 350 makeshift houses were offered to residents taking shelter, and about 500 soldiers have been placed on standby in coastal towns and villages for emergency operations.
Typhoon Soulik brings heavy rains and spectacular waves along the coasts of Fujian and Zhejiang provinces when making landfall. [Photo by Xuan Jibao / for China Daily]
The Fujian provincial department of ocean and fisheries said on Saturday that as of 11 am, 28,774 fishing boats had been ordered to return to port and 88,472 people had been relocated as the typhoon approached.
Traffic was badly affected as 139 flights to and from Fuzhou airport had been cancelled, and intercity high-speed train service between Fuzhou and Xiamen had been temporarily halted since Friday.
The operation of the passenger liners Haixia, which links Fujian province's Pingtan county and Taiwan's Taichung city, and Cosco Star, which travels between Xiamen and Keelong, were also suspended for safety concerns.
Chen Rongkai, general director of the Fujian Provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, warned the public about possible flooding, landslides and debris flows.
Gulangyu island, a tourist destination in Xiamen, remained open on Saturday afternoon, but is prepared to shut down on receipt of official instructions, according to an official with the Gulangyu management committee surnamed Lin.
The Fujian Meteorological Center issued a red wave warning for Soulik on Saturday. Chinese mainland uses a four-tier color-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe weather, followed by orange, yellow and blue.
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