China faces double danger from typhoons as Talim and Doksuri threaten to strike coastline
Authorities warn 10 provinces could be hit by powerful storms as Taiwan braces for first impact
Ten provinces in China’s wealthiest coastal regions could be hit by two powerful typhoons within 24 hours, the government has warned.
But they could also miss China altogether with a “last-minute” turn and hit other countries, according to the latest estimates.
Typhoon Talim was about 500km southeast of Zhejiang province on Wednesday night. It could make landfall in Zhejiang soon after reaching its peak on Thursday evening or Friday morning, according to a forecast by an expert panel led by Chen Lei, minister of water resources and deputy chief of the national anti-flooding command office.
More than 120,000 people in Zhejiang and Fujian provinces had been evacuated as of Wednesday in preparation for the possible arrival of Talim, the 18th typhoon recorded in the region this year, Xinhua reported.
In Fujian, about 120,000 people and 20,000 fishing vessels were moved to safe locations, while nearly 2,000 scenic spots and construction sites were closed. In Zhejiang, more than 4,700 boats and thousands of people were relocated, the report said.
Fujian’s meteorological department forecast that Talim would intensify into a super typhoon with speeds of between 180km/h and 200km/h over the next two days.
Authorities in Taiwan issued a maritime warning and airlines cancelled some flights on Wednesday as the island braced for Talim’s arrival, which was expected to hit northern cities, including Taipei.
Meanwhile, Typhoon Doksuri recently formed to the west of the Philippines and was heading to Hainan province and expected to make a landfall about the same time as Talim.
“The areas to be affected by Talim are the most economically developed regions in our nation’s eastern coastline with large cities, high population density, tall buildings and plenty of industrial infrastructure,” the expert panel said in a statement released by Xinhua.
Talim was expected to gain in strength as it swept towards Taipei and other cities on Taiwan, lashing them with strong winds and heavy rain, the island’s Central Weather Bureau said.
Its greatest impact would be felt later on Wednesday and on Thursday, the bureau said on its website, when it was expected to slam into the north and northeast with maximum sustained wind speeds of 137km/h and gusts of up to 173km/h.
“Typhoon Talim has been changing course and is not entirely predictable. It’s been expected to hit Taiwan directly, but its trajectory has altered further northward and eastward,” Premier William Lai said.
“But at this point our emergency operation centre has not lowered its level of alert.”
It had not yet been determined whether the Taiwanese government would close financial markets, companies or schools on Thursday. An announcement would be made later on Wednesday if closures were considered necessary.
China Airlines and EVA Airways, Taiwan’s two largest carriers, said they would cancel some inbound and outbound international flights scheduled for later on Wednesday. A warning for sea traffic was also issued by the Central Weather Bureau.
Formosa Petrochemical Corporation, Taiwan’s second-biggest oil supplier, said it had prepared to close its supply port if necessary as Talim approached, although it was waiting for a government directive.
China’s National Meteorological Centre warned on Tuesday that Talim could intensify and turn into a super typhoon as it churned towards Taiwan and Zhejiang and Fujian provinces on the mainland.
As many as half a million people may need to be evacuated if the storm intensifies.
Coastal areas in southern China such as Guangdong province have taken repeated hits this year and they face the severe threat of flooding with the arrival of Doksuri, according to the expert panel.
The central government dispatched 11 emergency response team to provinces and large cities including Fujian, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Anhui, Jiangxi and Guangxi, Xinhua said.
Waves as high as six or seven metres are expected to hit Zhejiang and Guangdong.
But the authorities said the two systems were affecting each other, creating uncertainty about their future paths.
Talim could yet make a U-turn towards southern Japan, and Doksuri may be diverted towards Vietnam, they said.