China’s National Meteorological Centre issued a red alert for Typhoon Fitow, currently battering eastern China, with hundreds of thousands evacuated ahead of the storm.
The storm, which the center classified as “strong” with winds up to 151 kilometers an hour, was about 215 kilometers southeast of the city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang last night and was moving in a mostly westerly direction at 18 kilometers an hour.
The Zhejiang provincial government said that by noon yesterday more than 65,000 boats had returned to port or moved to safer areas. About 289,000 people had been evacuated from fishing boats and coastal areas.
Fujian’s government said 128,000 boat workers and residents had been evacuated, including 7,000 elderly people and children who were on fishing rafts. Some 30,000 fishing boats in the province were also called back to port.
The typhoon will bring heavy or torrential rain to five provinces, Shanghai and Taiwan over the next three days, the national meteorological center said, with some coastal areas seeing rainfall of 250 millimeters.
Rail, air, and bus services have been cancelled across the affected area, with over 40 train services cancelled in Shanghai alone:
Shanghai Sightseeing Bus Center canceled 22 tour routes to eastern coastal areas of Zhejiang Province such as Putuo Mountain and Ningbo City.
Shanghai Railway Bureau has suspended 42 bullet train services from Shanghai Railway Station to cities such as Fuzhou and Xiamen in Fujian Province and Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province today.
China Eastern Airlines canceled nearly 40 flights to cities including Wenzhou, Fuzhou, Okinawa and Taipei from both Hongqiao and Pudong airports yesterday while China Southern Airlines canceled flights to Taipei, and Air China and Juneyao Airlines canceled flights to Fuzhou and Wenzhou.
Northern China has not been spared the lousy weather. Thick fog enveloped much of Beijing and the surrounding area, leading to a yellow alert being issued by capital meteorological authorities.
International tennis players at the China Open were forced to play in smog as spectators used masks and bandanas in an attempt to protect themselves from the pollution.
“It’s not ideal in terms of pollution,” Novak Djokovic told reporters after his victory over Rafael Nadal. “Yes, we’ve been talking about the weather conditions, but it is what it is, it’s something that has been the same for the last few years that I’ve been coming back here.”
Visibility in some parts of Beijing dropped to less than 500 metres (1,600 feet). Almost half of flights leaving Beijing’s Capital International Airport were delayed or cancelled, and dozens of incoming flights were diverted to neighbouring cities or forced to turn back.
In Tianjin, authorities ordered the closure of all 14 expressways in the municipality due to poor visibility. In Hebei province, 13 expressways were also closed.