Ports, schools shut as Typhoon Muifa barrels toward eastern China

Storm is expected to make landfall on Wednesday, and China’s typhoon alert has been upgraded to second highest level.

Authorities in China have ordered ships to return to port, requested that schools close, and evacuated tourists from coastal islands as one of the strongest typhoons this year was set to make landfall in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

Typhoon Muifa had intensified to a strong typhoon on Tuesday as it barrelled towards China’s coast and the key port cities of Ningbo and Zhoushan.

The storm is expected to make landfall on Wednesday, and China’s typhoon alert has been upgraded to orange, the second-highest level on the four-tier, colour-coded weather warning system, state media reported.

“Under this emergency state, it is required that relevant meteorological departments and provincial meteorological departments like Zhejiang, Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Shandong enter the emergency position immediately,” the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said on Tuesday.

Muifa will bring torrential rains as it sweeps through eastern and southern coastal areas, including the commercial hub of Shanghai, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Waves of up to five metres (16 feet) are expected near Shanghai, China’s busiest container seaport.

Shanghai will suspend some operations of its port from Tuesday evening and halt all operations on Wednesday morning, according to the Shanghai International Shipping Institute.

State television reported that about 13,000 people from islands and tourist sites located in the typhoon’s path have been evacuated.

Nearly 7,400 commercial vessels have sought shelter in ports, while passenger ship routes in the affected areas were suspended as of noon (00:50 GMT), state media reported.

Authorities in the cities of Ningbo, Zhoushan and Taizhou have ordered schools to suspend classes on Wednesday. The three cities and Shanghai have a collective population of 42.26 million people.

The typhoon, China’s 12th of the year, will continue to move in a northwest direction after making landfall, and then it is to gradually weaken, the CMA said.

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