Shanghai, Eastern China Brace for Typhoon Haikui
   2012-08-08 04:50:25    Shanghai Daily      Web Editor: Zhang

Residents of Jinwei Village in suburban Jinshan District make their way to the shelter of a school. By 9pm yesterday, a total of 374,000 people had been evacuated in Shanghai. [Photo: Shanghai Daily]

Shanghai and nearby coastal areas evacuated hundreds of thousands of people and ordered ships to port as China prepared for the arrival of Typhoon Haikui.

Shanghai banned all outdoor group activities, closed all city parks and suspended summer classes. It also stopped all outdoor construction.

The city government said summer schools and training classes should be suspended and companies were being advised to give their employees time off.

By 9pm last night, it was estimated that nearly 374,000 people had been relocated in the city and a total of 6,327 ships had anchored in harbors, officials with the Shanghai Flood Control Headquarters said.

Zhang Zhenyu, an official of the headquarters, said those living in temporary housing at construction sites, makeshift housing and seawall regions were being moved to schools, stadiums and other shelters.

"Due to the uncertainty of the typhoon, we will relocate all people facing possible risks," Zhang told Xinhua news agency.

Haikui, the strongest typhoon to approach Shanghai since Matsa in 2005, should have landed in neighboring Zhejiang Province early this morning, and bringing gales of up to 102 kilometers per hour, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said.

Heavy downpours are expected, and the typhoon's influence should last to the weekend.

Rainfall over the next three days is estimated at 250 to 400 millimeters but that could still rise, the bureau said.

Heavy downpours

Xu Ming, a researcher with the bureau's typhoon center, said: "The biggest influence of Haikui should occur today with large gales and heavy downpours."

According to the bureau's five-day forecast, the showery weather should continue to Saturday morning with temperatures ranging from 25 to around 30 degrees Celsius.

At least 237 flights were cancelled at Shanghai's Pudong and Hongqiao international airports and there were numerous delays as of 5pm yesterday. Some 146 flights were cancelled at the Pudong airport and 91 at Hongqiao, the city's airport authority said.

China Southern Airlines canceled a total of 120 flights, including all flights after 6pm from Pudong, Hongqiao and Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province.

"It is estimated that the typhoon will keep affecting the flights in these cities," China Southern said in a statement.

Shanghai-based airlines, including China Eastern, Spring and Juneyao, cancelled about 50 flights, most of them to and from Ningbo and Wenzhou. Shenzhen, Hainan and Chongqing airlines also said they would be cancelling flights to China's east coastal areas.

All outdoor construction in Shanghai had been suspended and the city's ports were closed yesterday afternoon.

Workers were checking all traffic underpasses to prevent potential leaks and complete other precautionary efforts. During heavy storms, traffic underpasses are vulnerable to flooding.

Teams on standby

More than 400 professional rescue teams are on standby across the city near major local highways and spots vulnerable to flooding, the Shanghai Construction Commission said.

The city's transport bureau said bus services would be cancelled or rerouted if there was flooding on the roads.

Metro trains would operate at slower speeds in the case of high winds and some services would be suspended once winds reached 102 kilometers per hour or more.

All ferry services on the Huangpu River and those to Chongming County were cancelled.

Telecommunications carriers have taken special measures to prepare for Haikui, ensuring special protection for services.

China Mobile's Shanghai branch, which has 20 million mobile phones in the city, is "technically ready" to send messages if required by the local authority.

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