Typhoon Muifa Heads For China

BEIJING (AP) — A typhoon blew down power lines and billboards in the Chinese financial hub of Shanghai on Sunday and aimed at a northeast port city where beaches were closed and sandbags were piled on the waterfront.

High waters and heavy surf already were battering Qingdao’s coastline as Typhoon Muifa hugged China’s eastern seaboard, weakening as it approached the industrial port city.

Muifa was expected to make landfall as a severe tropical storm Monday morning near Qingdao, home to 7 million people and the Chinese navy’s north sea fleet.

Evacuations were ordered for 600,000 people, including in Shandong province surrounding Qingdao and points to the south. About 20,000 Shandong fishing boats were ordered into port and some were lifted out of the water for safety.

As Muifa skirted the coast, strong winds caused damage in Shanghai, and a 24-year-old swimmer went missing in heavy surf, Shanghai Television reported.

Transportation was disrupted by the storm. Hundreds of weekend flights were canceled in eastern China, and bus and train service was in disarray.

Outdoor activities have been canceled and rescuers placed on high alert.

Heavy rain is expected for Shandong province, as well as much of Jilin to the north which borders North Korea. The Korean peninsula already suffered heavy flooding in July that killed dozens and destroyed homes.

At 8 p.m. Sunday (1200 GMT), Muifa was centered about 210 miles (340 kilometers) southeast of Qingdao and was moving northwest about 15 miles per hour (23 kph) over the East China Sea, the Hong Kong Observatory said. Winds gusted up to 85 mph (137 kph).

South Korean authorities issued a tidal wave and flood warning along the west and south coast and said strong winds overnight could cause damage in central parts of the country, including the capital Seoul.

Yonhap news agency reported a 75-year-old man was found dead on Wando island off the peninsula’s southern coast. He disappeared while trying to moor a 1-ton ship in rough seas and was found an hour later, the report said.

Many domestic flights, including between Seoul and the southern island of Jeju, were canceled, according to Yonhap, as well as nine flights to China from Incheon airport. Power outages were reported and a 600-year-old hackberry tree fell in Jeju and damaged a traditional building from the Joseon dynasty that ruled the peninsula from 1392-1910.

Nearly 11.5 inches (292 millimeters) of rain fell on Jeju Island by 5 p.m., a record for an August day on the island, Yonhap cited from the national weather office.

Typhoon Muifa was much stronger last week. It killed four people in the Philippines without making landfall, and caused injuries and power outages when it passed the Japanese island of Okinawa on Friday.

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