Typhoon Chan-hom hits China with heavy rains, winds

Typhoon Chan-hom hit the Chinese coast south of Shanghai on Saturday with winds of up to 160 km/h, forcing about 1.1 million people to leave their homes and prompting airlines to cancel hundreds of flights.

Initially deemed a super-typhoon, but later downgraded

Rain and winds gusting up to 216 km/h from Typhoon Chan-Hom wallop southern Japan 1:04

A typhoon pounded the Chinese coast south of Shanghai on Saturday with strong winds and heavy rainfall, submerging roads, felling trees and forcing 1.1 million people to evacuate their homes.

Typhoon Chan-hom slammed ashore with winds of up to 160 km/hour near Zhoushan, a city east of the port of Ningbo in Zhejiang province. It has dumped more than 100 millimetres of rain since late Friday — about a month's average in less than 24 hours, China Central Television and the Xinhua News Agency reported.

No deaths or injuries have been reported by Saturday evening.

"It was so windy that the rain came in through the windows even though they were closed," Zhoushan resident Zhang Zhouqun, 53, manager of a logistics company, said in a telephone interview.

Workers use sandbags to reinforce a river bank amid high water levels caused by Typhoon Chan-Hom in Lin'an city. (The Associated Press)

The storm felled 10-year-old trees in his neighbourhood, stranded cars in 60-centimetre-deep water and swamped half the fields, Zhang said. Police were out barring people from trying to drive. At the urging of local officials, Zhang's family had stocked up a few days' worth of groceries, he said.

Some 1.1 million people had been evacuated from coastal areas of Zhejiang and more than 46,000 in neighbouring Jiangsu province ahead of the storm, Xinhua said. The provincial flood control bureau said 28,764 ships had been ordered back to port.

The national weather service said earlier the typhoon might be the strongest to strike China since the communist government took power in 1949. It initially was deemed a super-typhoon but was downgraded at midday Saturday to a strong typhoon and was weakening further as it moved inland.

Heavy downpour was reported in some areas, including the village of Lai'ao, which recorded more than 400 millimetres of rain, according to Xinhua.

More than 100 trains and 600 flights were canceled in the cities of Hangzhou, Ningbo, Wenzhou and Taizhou, according to Xinhua. Buses and passenger ferries also suspended service.

Storm-related injuries in Japan

Earlier, Chan-hom caused 20 injuries as it moved over islands in southern Japan, Kyodo news agency reported, citing the Okinawa prefecture government.

The storm dumped rain on the northern Philippines and Taiwan, where several flights were suspended. The stock market and public offices were closed Friday in Taipei, Taiwan's capital.

Chan-hom is the second major storm to hit China this week, after Typhoon Linfa forced 56,000 people from their homes in the southern province of Guangdong province.

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