Eastern China ports stand still as Typhoon Muifa approaches


Authorities in China’s eastern Zhejiang province ordered ships to return to the port, told schools to close and evacuated tourists from nearby islands as one of this year’s strongest typhoons is set to make landfall on Wednesday.

Typhoon Muifa intensified on Tuesday as it swept into the two port cities of Ningbo and Zhoushan, which share the ranking of the second busiest port in China in terms of cargo handled.

State media said China’s 12th cyclone of the year was expected to make landfall between the cities of Wenling and Zhoushan, with torrential rains on its way through the eastern and southern coastal areas.

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That includes the commercial center of Shanghai, just north of Ningbo and Zhoushan, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Waves of up to 5 meters (16 feet) are expected near Shanghai, China’s busiest container port.

Shanghai will suspend some of its port’s activities, including the Yangshan terminal and others, from Tuesday evening and halt all activities on Wednesday morning, the Shanghai International Shipping Institute said.

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China Southern Airlines said it canceled 25 flights at Shanghai airports on Tuesday and plans to cancel 11 more on Wednesday.

About 13,000 people have been evacuated from islands and tourist sites near Zhoushan, state television reported.

Nearly 7,400 commercial ships took shelter in Zhejiang ports, including Zhoushan, Ningbo and Taizhou, while passenger ship routes through the province were suspended from noon, state media said.

The three cities and Shanghai together have a population of 42.26 million.

The Zhejiang government has ordered all fishing vessels to return to port before noon. Ningbo, Zhoushan and Taizhou suspended schools on Wednesday.

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All flights at Ningbo and Zhoushan airports have been canceled before Wednesday, flight data platform Variflight told Reuters.

Weather authorities said the center of Muifa was about 490 km (304.5 miles) southeast of Xiangshan city in Zhejiang. The typhoon will move northwest after hitting land and gradually weaken, the Central Meteorological Administration added.

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