Big waves hit a sea dike in Xiapu county, Fujian province, July 13, 2013. Typhoon Soulik is expected to make a landfall in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces on the Chinese mainland between Saturday noon and late afternoon after it passes Taiwan. [Photo: asianewsphoto]
Typhoon Soulik, the seventh typhoon to hit Chinese mainland this year, made landfall in eastern Fujian Province on Saturday afternoon, bringing heavy rain and wind.
The National Meteorological Center said the typhoon made landfall on the Huangqi Peninsula in Lianjiang County at 4 p.m., adding that wind speeds at the typhoon's center reached a top speed of 118 km per hour as it landed.
Waves as high as 10 meters have been hitting dams off the coast of Xiapu County in the city of Ningde. Billboards have been shattered and trees have been uprooted by the strong winds.
Typhoon Soulik is currently moving northwest at 20 to 25 km per hour and is expected to enter neighboring Jiangxi Province after midnight, according to the Fujian provincial meteorological station.
The typhoon is expected to bring downpours to the central and northern parts of Fujian. Local governments should be on high alert for possible floods and landslides, the station said.
A total of 304,000 people in Fujian were evacuated before Typhoon Soulik landed. Some 5,500 soldiers have been dispatched to 18 counties to engage in relief efforts.
All maritime transportation to Taiwan has been suspended. Operations in the ports of Fuzhou, Xiamen and Meizhou Bay have also been suspended, according to the provincial headquarters.
Public transportation in the city of Ningde, which is expected to be hit hard by the typhoon, has been suspended since 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
A total of 142 flights have been canceled at the Changle International Airport of Fuzhou, the provincial capital, since Friday night.
Thirty-one passenger trains that connect Wenzhou and Fuzhou, or Fuzhou and Xiamen, will be suspended for fear of possible damages from Soulik, said local railway authorities. The trains are expected to resume operation on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the flood control headquarters of east China's Zhejiang Province said 234,294 people have been relocated in preparation for the typhoon, adding that 30,880 ships have been ordered back to port.
Some 20 inbound and outbound flights have been canceled at the Xiaoshan International Airport of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province.
The National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center on Saturday night downgraded the warning for sea waves caused by Typhoon Soulik in Fujian and Zhejiang from top-level to yellow.
China uses a four-tier color-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe weather, followed by orange, yellow and blue.
The Center also lifted its blue storm surge warnings for the two provinces.
Soulik has affected 410,000 people in 53 townships of Wenzhou, causing a direct economic loss of 212 million yuan (34.58 million U.S.dollars), local authorities said.
The influence of Soulik on Zhejiang is expected to end on Sunday, local authorities said.
The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said Saturday that it has issued notices to relief headquarters of provinces and cities that will be affected by Typhoon Sulik, urging them to monitor weather closely, detect hidden hazards and prepare for disaster relief work.
Apart from Fujian and Zhejiang, provinces of Anhui, Jiangxi, Henan, Hubei and Shandong will see heavy rainfall from Saturday to Monday, with precipitation in some areas reaching 250 to 400 mm, according to the headquarters.