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Heavy rain, strong winds as Soulik heads inland

By Sun Li and Hu Meidong (China Daily)

08:58, July 15, 2013

A man is rescued from a house that collapsed on Sunday after Typhoon Soulik dumped 240 mm of rain in the Tongan district of Xiamen, Fujian province. (Zeng Demeng / for China Daily)

Typhoon Soulik is weakening as it heads northwesterly inland, but some parts of China can still expect torrential rain and strong winds, forecasters said on Sunday.

Soulik, the seventh typhoon to hit the mainland this year, arrived in Jiangxi province at 4 am on Sunday, after making landfall in Fujian province on Saturday, according to the National Meteorological Center.

Jiangxi received 200 mm of rain over five hours and winds of 64.8 km per hour, local meteorological authorities said.

Sixteen Jiangxi counties and cities had got more than 100 mm of rain by 9 am on Sunday, sources with the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters said.

A female tourist drowned on a rafting ride in a valley in Yichun city, Jiangxi province, after her group encountered storm-triggered floods on Sunday, China News Service reported.

The tourists abandoned their rafts because of the high water level, but some of them fell into the water. Twenty-six were saved.

Yao Bing, a manager with the rafting service, was missing after he jumped into the water to rescue the tourists.

The search for Yao continued, but bad weather was expected to hinder the search as more rain was predicted for part of Jiangxi, local rescuers said.

Despite being downgraded to a tropical storm at 5 am, Soulik has brought heavy rains to Fujian and neighboring Zhejiang province, and storm conditions are expected in Anhui, Jiangxi, Henan and Hubei provinces.

According to the Fujian Meteorological Center, northern parts of Fujian will face more heavy rain and strong winds on Monday.

Zhuo Feng, director of the flood control and drought relief office of Xiapu county, in Ningde city, said that pedestrians are a rare sight in the area, which has seen strong winds ripping the branches off trees, and the authority has warned fishermen to remain on shore.

The National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center on Saturday downgraded the warning for rough seas off Fujian and Zhejiang from red to yellow.

The Chinese mainland uses a four-tier color-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe weather, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

Meanwhile, tour services to Fujian's coastal tourist attractions, such as Meizhou Island in Putian and Baishuiyang in Ningde, remained canceled on Sunday for safety reasons, said a worker with the Kangxiang Tourism Agency.

Su Shulin, governor of Fujian, called on government authorities at all levels to be on high alert for possible floods and landslides.

Typhoon Soulik has left two dead, one missing and 104 injured since it hit Taiwan early on Saturday morning. About 400,000 people in Fujian and 410,000 people in Zhejiang have been affected.

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