China was on its highest alert for Typhoon Fitow, with hundreds of thousands evacuated as the storm was expected to slam into the east coast this morning.
The National Meteorological Center issued a red alert for the storm, saying it was expected to make landfall early today between eastern Zhejiang Province and southeastern Fujian Province.
The storm, which the center classified as “strong” with winds up to 151 kilometers an hour, was about 215 kilometers southeast of the city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang last night and was moving in a mostly westerly direction at 18 kilometers an hour.
The Zhejiang provincial government said that by noon yesterday more than 65,000 boats had returned to port or moved to safer areas. About 289,000 people had been evacuated from fishing boats and coastal areas.
“We must not leave anybody in danger,” said Li Qiang, the provincial governor.
He urged local authorities to increase inspections of dams and reservoirs as well as safety checks of chemical plants and other important facilities.
Fujian’s government said 128,000 boat workers and residents had been evacuated, including 7,000 elderly people and children who were on fishing rafts. Some 30,000 fishing boats in the province were also called back to port.
The typhoon will bring heavy or torrential rain to five provinces, Shanghai and Taiwan over the next three days, the national meteorological center said, with some coastal areas seeing rainfall of 250 millimeters [9.8 inches].