Saturday, August 23, 2008

Typhoon Nuri forces 160,000 to evacuate

Nearly 160,000 people in 13 coastal cities in Guangdong were evacuated Friday after Typhoon Nuri, the strongest this year, hit the southern province.

The provincial observatory issued a Class-I warning - the highest level - before the tropical cyclone landed in Hong Kong at 5 pm Friday, bringing strong winds and heavy rainfall. But it inflicted little damage.

Sources with the Guangdong provincial flood control center said more than 45,000 vessels working at sea had been recalled before Nuri hit.

Nuri, which packed gale force 12 at its center, weakened into a tropical storm after its landfall and was moving northwest around 14 km an hour, the Hong Kong Observatory said.

The Guangdong provincial weather bureau said Nuri will bring torrential rains in the coming days to Hong Kong, Guangdong, Hainan and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

In Shenzhen, which neighbors Hong Kong, more than 40,000 trees were toppled by strong gales. As of 6 pm Friday, more than 20 injuries had been reported in the city, but there were no reports of any casualties, Shenzhen Emergency Center said.

Train services in Shenzhen were not affected but passenger bus services were all suspended. The Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport suspended almost all flights.

In Guangzhou, construction of the 499-m Guangzhou TV Tower, the tallest building in the city, was suspended. Subway services on the Huangge-Jinzhou section of Line 4 were also closed.

In Hong Kong, the observatory issued its second-highest tropical cyclone warning. Eight people suffered light injuries, the government said. There were also reports of toppled trees, collapsed walls and scaffolding.

Flights, bus and ferry services were canceled, and offices, schools and financial markets were closed. As of 2 pm Friday, at least 308 passenger flights had been canceled or delayed while nine flights were diverted, according to the Hong Kong Airport Authority.

The Home Affairs Department has opened 26 temporary shelters in various districts.

Source: China Daily

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