Shanghai braces for tropical storm Meari

08:51, June 26, 2011      

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Shanghai Municipality is bracing for high gales and torrential rains as tropical storm Meari swirls northward, battering the country's coastal areas.

The full force of Meari, still gaining in strength and likely to soon become a typhoon, will reach the sea off Shanghai around late night of Saturday, according to the Shanghai Municipal Meteorological Station.

Shanghai has emptied its reservoirs in preparation for the heavy rain Meari is likely to bring, said Zhang Zhenyu, spokesman for the Shanghai Flood Control Headquarters.

Shanghai has inspected subway stations, underground parking lots and other places at risk of flooding to ease concerns heightened by torrential rains that drenched Beijing and paralyzed parts of the city's transport system on Thursday, Zhang said.

In addition, the authorities have canceled a gathering of some 3,500 people and closed a beach resort and a wetland park for safety concerns.

Meari has brought fierce winds and heavy downpours to neighboring Zhejiang Province.

On Saturday afternoon, two vessels sailing on the waters off Zhoushan Islands of Zhejiang sunk due to the high gales, according to a spokesman with the East China Sea Salvage Bureau of the Ministry of Transport.

Thirty people on the two vessels fell into water, but were all rescued later, said the spokesman.

Further north, the storm will unleash heavy rains on coastal cities of Shandong Province from Saturday night to Sunday, said the meteorological station of Zhejiang Province.

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