CHINA / National

Typhoon Prapiroon hits Guangdong
By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-08-04 06:07

GUANGZHOU: Gale force winds and heavy rainstorms lashed western Guangdong Province yesterday evening, as Typhoon Prapiroon made landfall.

Two young woman's umbrella is blew sideways as they walk through the wind on a Hong Kong street as typhoon Prapiroon slammed into southern China Thursday, Aug 3, 2006, bringing heavy winds and rain. Thousands of people were evacuated. [Xinhua]

The typhoon whose name means 'god of rain' in Thai came inland between Yangjiang and Dianbai at 7:20 pm, bringing winds up to gale force 12.

More than a quarter of a million people were evacuated from the area, which has been battered by successive typhoons over the summer, and 40,000 ships were called into Guangdong's harbours.

Sources with the Guangdong provincial flood control and drought relief office said emergency measures had been drawn up before the typhoon's arrival, with ships called to harbour by noon yesterday. Prapiroon is expected to hit the province even more ferociously than previous typhoons this year.

The office, together with the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, sent two special working groups early yesterday morning, to deal with possible natural disasters triggered by Prapiroon.

Foul weather, such as heavy rain and powerful winds, is expected to continue to plague the Pearl River Delta region after Prapiroon moves on. The typhoon is expected to head northwest to the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region this morning, Lin Liangxun, chief forecaster of the Guangdong Provincial Meteorological Bureau said in an interview with China Daily.

Ahead of Prapiroon's arrival, Guangdong and the neighbouring Hong Kong and Macao regions have experienced heavy rain and strong winds since Wednesday night.

"The rains in the western part of the Pearl River Delta region are expected to last until Saturday," said Lin.

In provincial capital Guangzhou, heavy rain, whipped up by gale force eight winds, began falling yesterday afternoon, causing rush hour traffic jams in most urban areas.

At least 19 flights leaving to and from Hong Kong were grounded as of 2 pm yesterday because of the heavy rain, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Ships between Hong Kong, Macao and Shenzhen and trains between Hong Kong and Shenzhen were also cancelled.

In Macao, which began experiencing rainstorms yesterday morning, most businesses and schools were forced to close for the day. Macao, which neighbours Zhuhai in western Guangdong, has opened three temporary shelters for affected residents.

The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters has urged the relevant local government organizations to stay alert over Prapiroon, as the country has already been hard hit by five devastating typhoons this year.

The two previous typhoons, Billis and Kaemi, which landed in South China last month, killed more than 600 and brought huge economic losses.

It is predicted that more five or six more tropical storms will form around the South China Sea this month, with two or three making landfall, said Lin.

(China Daily 08/04/2006 page2)


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