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China issues highest typhoon warning

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-10-05 16:37

BEIJING - China's meteorological authority on Saturday issued a red alert, the highest in its weather warning system, as Typhoon Fitow approaches the country's southeast coastal areas.

At 5 am Beijing time, the center of Fitow, the 23rd typhoon to hit China this year, was 680 kilometers east of Taipei, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) said in a statement.

The center said the typhoon is expected to move northwestward at a speed of about 15 km per hour, during which it could continue to strengthen slightly.

Fitow is likely to make landfall in the coastal areas between central Zhejiang Province and northern Fujian Province between Sunday night and Monday morning, according to the NMC.

The center said it is unusual for a typhoon to make landfall in Southeast China in October, urging local authorities and residents to raise their alerts and closely follow relevant information.

The NMC said Fitow is expected to bring strong gales to sea waters of northeast and north Taiwan, as well as the east of Zhejiang and Fujian provinces in the next 24 hours.

From Sunday, Fitow is forecast to bring heavy rain to southeast China. Eastern and southern Zhejiang province are likely to be hit by heavy rainstorms, according to the center.

Also on Saturday, China's maritime authorities issued an orange alert for a wave warning.

Fitow is expected to reach the southeastern part of the East China Sea on Saturday afternoon or night, the National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center said.

The typhoon will bring waves as high as 12 meters in the south East China Sea and waters around the Diaoyu Islands from Saturday noon to Sunday midday, with waves of up to five meters in the north of the East China Sea and in the Taiwan Strait, according to the center.

The center also warned of storm tides, with water levels expected to increase by as much as 90 centimeters in coastal areas of Zhejiang and Fujian from Saturday night to Sunday noon.

The center urged ships to be cautious. It also advised coastal authorities to take precautionary measures, carry out patrols and make sure dikes and fishery facilities are secure.

The National Commission for Disaster Reduction also issued an early disaster warning on Saturday, asking local governments to prepare to minimize losses.

Civil affairs bureaus in affected areas have been asked to remain on duty around the clock, enhance monitoring, issue early warnings, evacuate tourists in threatened areas and help fishing boats back to port.

The commission asked local authorities to carry out emergency plans, allocate relief materials and funds when necessary, to ensure daily necessities are provided for disaster-affected people.

China has a four-tier, color-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.