Typhoon Muifa nears China
Triggers massive evacuation
China said yesterday that it had evacuated nearly 500,000 people as Typhoon Muifa approached but the storm was likely to miss the commercial capital Shanghai.
The typhoon, originally expected to make landfall near Shanghai, could blow by the city and instead move north towards Shandong province, the National Meteorological Centre of China said in a statement on its website.
Muifa was still packing winds of up to 144 km per hour, it said.
Shanghai weather officials were quoted by local media as saying the typhoon could still make landfall in China, perhaps near Qingdao city, famous for Tsingtao Beer.
Separately, the official Xinhua news agency said more than 10 boats carrying some 200 fishermen were missing off China's eastern coast due to the storm.
But an official in the eastern province of Zhejiang, near where the boats went missing, told AFP the vessels had been found. China had already called more than 10,000 boats back to port ahead of the storm.
The government's National Marine Environmental Forecasting Centre warned the storm could impact an even wider area if it hugged the eastern coast and made landfall further north.
The typhoon would still bring strong winds and torrential rains to a wide band of eastern China.
The government had issued its highest alert for waves, with crests of up to 11 metres high on the open sea and up to seven metres in coastal areas.
Shanghai began mass evacuations yesterday, moving nearly 200,000 people to safety, Shanghai television said. China's eastern Zhejiang province had evacuated more than 206,000 and southern Fujian province another 80,400, Xinhua said.
Transport services felt the impact of Muifa. Shanghai's two airports had scrapped at least 240 flights yesterday and more cancellations were expected Sunday. Major carrier China Southern Airlines said it had cancelled 128 flights to eastern China.