Shanghai and nearby coastal areas rushed Tuesday to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people and order ships to port as China prepared for its third typhoon in less than a week.

Shanghai

The China Meteorological Administration issued a red alert for Typhoon Haikui, the highest so far this year. It said the storm was strengthening and was likely to hit between the coastal cities of Ningbo and Wenzhou late Tuesday or early Wednesday. Authorities said it would bring heavy rains and strong winds for 48 hours.

Shanghai, which has 23 million people and is the country's financial hub, banned all outdoor group activities, closed all city parks and suspended summer classes. It also stopped all outdoor construction.

The city was evacuating 200,000 people and the adjoining province of Zhejiang had already evacuated 130,000 people, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It said more than 30,000 ships had been called back to shelter in ports.

The meteorological administration said the typhoon had winds as strong as 173 kilometres per hour by Tuesday evening.

China is still recovering from typhoons Damrey and Saola, which hit over the weekend. The flooding and landslides from those storms killed 23 people and left nine missing, Xinhua said Tuesday.

Saola battered Taiwan and the Philippines earlier and was blamed for about 60 deaths in the two countries.