At least 28 people have died, with another 20 missing and up to one million people evacuated in eastern China as deadly “super” Typhoon Lekima made landfall.
The typhoon, which had been brewing since August 2, struck the eastern province of Zhejiang on Saturday morning local time, triggered a major landslide, forced the closure of Shanghai Disneyland and caused widespread transport disruptions including thousands of flights cancelled.
The deadly landslide occurred about 130 kilometres north of the coastal city of Wenzhou, when a natural dam collapsed in an area deluged with 160 millimetres of rain within three hours.
As many as 2.72 million Zhejiang households had power blackouts as winds of up to 187km/h were recorded and heavy rain downed electricity transmission lines.
At its worst, Lekima destroyed 66,300 hectares of farmland, and levelled 200 houses in six cities in Zhejiang.
Most flights into and out of Shanghai’s two major airports were cancelled on Saturday afternoon.
Lekima has become the third largest typhoon on record in China with 250,000 people forced to leave their homes in Shanghai with another 800,000 in Zhejiang province.
#China issues a red alert! It was officially announced this morning, as Typhoon #Lekima is expected to hit the coastal areas of East China's Zhejiang province on Saturday morning. Shanghai will see heavy rain from Friday night to Sunday morning. pic.twitter.com/hbG06Zq47Q
— ShanghaiEye (@ShanghaiEye) August 9, 2019
China’s weather bureau on Saturday issued an orange alert, its second highest, after posting a red alert on Friday, when the storm forced flight cancellations (383 international and 138 domestic flights) in Taiwan, killing one Taipei resident, and shut markets and businesses on the island.
Lekima also battered southern Japan with strong winds and heavy rains disrupting transport in the region.
This year’s ninth typhoon caused the cancellation of 68 flights and 155 ferry services in Japan’s Ryukyu Islands region, while at least four people were injured in Okinawa prefecture, local newspaper Okinawa Times reported.
Japanese forecasters warned of high waves, torrential rains and powerful winds even though the storm has passed through the islands and heading towards China’s mainland.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said as of Friday at 1pm (AEST), the eye of the storm was over the East China Sea, travelling north-west at 25km/h with maximum sustained winds of 162km/h and gusts of 234km/h.
— NoShhNoTsk (@NoShhNoTsk) August 9, 2019
High winds and heavy rains battered the financial hub of Shanghai on Saturday afternoon, while nearly 200 hundred trains through the city of Jinan in Shandong province were suspended until Monday.
More than 250,000 residents in Shanghai and 800,000 in Zhejiang province were evacuated.
The storm was predicted to reach Jiangsu province by the early hours of Sunday and veer over the Yellow Sea before continuing north and making landfall again in Shandong province, CCTV said.
The storm was moving northward at 15km/h and was gradually weakening, Xinhua reported, citing the weather bureau.