China issues highest alert as Typhoon Fitow nears
Last Updated: 2013-10-06 21:02 | Xinhua
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China on Sunday issued red alerts, the highest warning, for storm tides and waves as Typhoon Fitow approached land.

Fitow, the 23rd typhoon to hit China this year, is forecast to make landfall between east China's Fujian and Zhejiang provinces at around 2 a.m. Monday, according to the National Meteorological Center.

The center of the storm was located 70 km southeast of the coast areas between Zhejiang and Fujian at 11 p.m. Sunday, with winds of up to 151 km per hour.

The storm will bring winds of 118.8 km to 136.8 km per hour upon its landfall, according to local meteorological stations.

Meteorological stations in Fujian and Zhejiang both issued red alerts for Fitow.

"Typhoon prevention is a life-and-death matter. All prevention efforts must be carried out carefully," said Xia Baolong, Communist Party chief of Zhejiang Province.

As of 6 p.m. Sunday, some 574,000 people were evacuated and 35,795 vessels returned to harbor for shelter, said the Zhejiang Provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

In Fujian, 177,000 people were displaced and nearly 30,000 fishing boats were called back.

"I have been working in Sansha for eight years and have not ever seen typhoon at this time of the year before," said Gong Runjian, head of the Sansha Township in Xiapu County, Fujian Province.

He feared the storm would cause serious damage to the local sea laver farms, the major income for local residents.

Due to the impact of the storm, downpours and strong gusts began to sweep the coastal areas of Zhejiang on Sunday afternoon.

Two workers in their 30s went missing at a port in Wenzhou on Sunday afternoon. Rescuers said they might have fallen into the sea.

Seven crew members are waiting for rescue as their cargo ship has been trapped more than 12 hours on the sea off Taizhou of Zhejiang Province due to engine failure. Strong gusts and high waves have delayed the arrival of a rescue vessel.

By 10 p.m. Sunday, power was cut off in several island townships in Zhejiang, due to the storm.

The typhoon has caused suspension of bullet trains in several cities in Zhejiang, Fujian and Jiangxi and halted services on at least 35 lines that pass cities on the typhoon route, including services between Beijing and Nanjing, Shanghai, Ningbo, Fuzhou and Xiamen.

Wenzhou Airport, a pivotal airport in Zhejiang Province, canceled 27 flights on Sunday, including flights to Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Kunming.

Coach services between Shanghai and Wenzhou were also suspended on Sunday. Maritime authorities in Fujian and Zhejiang have closed seaside bathing centers and other entertainment facilities on the coast.

China has a four-tier color-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

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