Tropical storm Haima hits south China

14:45, June 23, 2011      

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High billows strike the seashore in Zhuhai, south China's Hainan Province, June 23, 2011. The fourth tropical storm of the year, "Haima", which formed early Tuesday morning, is estimated to land Thursday morning on the coastal area from Yangjiang to Xuwen of Guangdong Province. (Xinhua/Xi Hu)

Tropical storm Haima made landfall over the coast of the southern Guangdong Province on Thursday morning, packing strong winds and unleashing torrential rains, meteorological authorities said.

Haima, the fourth storm to hit China this year, is forecast to move west or northwest at 15 km per hour, packing maximum sustained winds of 20 meters per second near the center, the National Meteorological Center said in the latest report.

Heavy to torrential rains are reported in Guangdong, Hainan and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the center said. Rainfall in parts of the island province of Hainan had reached 60 to 120 millimeters.

The authorities also warned of landslides and other geological disasters in areas hit by the storm.

Along Qiongzhou Strait, which lies between Hainan and Guangdong, operators of passenger ships were ordered to suspend boat trips on Wednesday. Flights were also canceled at Meilan International Airport in Haikou, capital city of Hainan.

Meanwhile, another storm is moving closer to China's southeast coast, according to provincial meteorological authorities of Fujian. Storm Meari, packing winds of 18 meters per second near the center, was located over the western Pacific about 1,400 kilometers southeast to Fujian's capital city Fuzhou on Thursday morning.

Storm Meari is forecast to move towards Taiwan's east coast at 25 km per hour, prompting flood control authorities in Fujian to prepare for its landfall.

Rains have battered most parts of southern China over the past few days.

Rain-triggered floods that have swept south China since early this month have left 175 dead and 86 missing so far, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said Monday.

The disasters have affected 36.57 million people and left 1.64 million displaced in a score of provinces and regions, the ministry has said. The floods have caused direct economic losses of 35 billion yuan (5.41 billion U.S. dollars).

In southwest Guizhou Province, disaster relief authorities on Thursday reported that a rain-triggered mud flow killed three people and one remains missing. More than 1,000 local residents have been evacuated over the past two days.

Source: Xinhua
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