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Typhoon Haikui approaches China's eastern coast

(Xinhua)

08:08, August 07, 2012

Clouds gather over the city as a warning of the coming typhoon in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, Aug. 6, 2012. Typhoon Haikui, the 11th tropical storm of the year, is approaching Zhejiang Province and expected to land from Zhejiang's mid-north coast on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The local meteorological authority has issued a yellow alert against the typhoon early Monday. (Xinhua/Han Chuanhao)

HANGZHOU, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Severe tropical storm Haikui strengthened into a typhoon as of 5 p.m. Monday as it approached the coastal area of east China's Zhejiang province, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) said.

While gradually strengthening, Haikui is expected to make landfall on the north-central regions of Zhejiang on midnight Tuesday or Wednesday morning, the NMC said.

Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei on Monday announced at a video conference that an emergency response system will be launched to cope with the effects of the typhoon, which is expected to dump up to 70O millimeters of rain along coastal areas.

Haikui is likely to add to the precipitation brought by two previous typhoons, Damrey and Saola, which made landfall in eastern China on Friday.

The Ministry of Agriculture on Monday urged local authorities in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui and Fujian to take preventative measures to protect the lives and property of farmers and fishermen, as well as to minimize the damage done to agricultural production.

The storm was moving northwest 200 kilometers off Japan's southernmost Okinawa prefecture early Sunday morning. It has brought gusts and heavy rainfall to some coastal regions of Zhejiang.

On Monday afternoon, the provincial flood control headquarters required local governments to ensure that all fishery work ships were at port or in safe waters.

Neighboring Shanghai also issued a blue alert against the typhoon on Monday and relocated over 200,000 people to avoid risks.

Chinese meteorological authorities use a four-tier color-coded weather warning system, with red being the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

Heavy rains will hit many areas in south and east China from Sunday to Tuesday as Haikui approaches the mainland, while stormy weather caused by typhoons Saola and Damrey will continue to affect China's coastal regions, according to the NMC.

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