Tropical storm Talim strengthened into a typhoon early on Monday and is set to be the first this year to make landfall in China, the national weather forecaster said, while authorities cancelled flights and urged residents to stay at home.
China Meteorological Administration issued an orange alert, saying the typhoon was expected to increase in intensity to become a severe typhoon by the time it makes landfall at night along the southern coast from Guangdong to Hainan.
China has a four-tier colour-coded weather warning system under which orange is the second highest alert. Talim is set to be the fourth typhoon this year but the first to make landfall in China, according to weather predictions.
Early on Monday, the meteorological centre said Talim was located 375km (230 miles) south-east of Zhanjiang City in Guangdong province, moving at a speed of 20km per hour (12 mph).
The national forecaster urged authorities in Guangdong and Hainan to be on standby to respond to the typhoon.
Markets in Hong Kong halted trade for the day as the city’s observatory put in place storm signal No. 8 for Talim, while all court hearings in the city were adjourned.
The meteorological centre forecast gale force winds in the seas near the southern provinces and regions and exceptionally heavy rains of 250-280mm (9.8-11 inches) in the southwestern coast of Guangxi and northern Hainan Island.
Hainan’s Marine Forecasting Station warned of waves of up of six metres (20 feet) south of the tourist island, Xinhua reported.
Authorities in Hainan asked ships in nearby waters to return to port and ferry services between Hainan and Guangdong were suspended early on Sunday.
Zhuhai Jinwan Airport in Guangdong cancelled 43 inbound and 36 outbound flights on Monday, while Meilan International Airport in Hainan’s capital city Haikou and Qionghai Boao Airport cancelled all flights, state media reported.
High-speed railway and suburban trains on Hainan were also suspended, with routes connecting to the tourist island shut till Friday.
Haikou city will also suspend classes, work, flights, park and business activities from noon Monday, requiring residents to stay home and opening emergency shelters to the public, state television CCTV reported.
In Fujian province, which neighbours Guangdong, local authorities launched rainstorm emergency response as rains and thunderstorms were predicted to persist from the weekend in most counties and cities due to peripheral southeastern airflow from Talim.
Chinese national weather forecaster said rainfall in several cities in the southeastern Fujian and eastern Jiangsu provinces reached 200-300mm (7.87-11.81 inches) within three hours early Monday morning.