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Thursday, September 15, 2016, 21:56

Typhoon Meranti makes landfall in China

By Agencies

Typhoon Meranti makes landfall in China
After Typhoon Meranti made landfall in Xiamen city, in coastal Fujian province, on Sept 15, 2016. (Photo / Xinhua)
FUZHOU - Typhoon Meranti slammed into southeastern China on Thursday with strong winds and lashing rain that cut power to 1.65 million homes, but there were no reports of more casualties in what has been described as the strongest storm of the year globally.

The storm, registered as a super typhoon before losing strength after sweeping across southern Taiwan, made landfall at 3:05 am near the major city of Xiamen.

The storm, registered as a super typhoon before losing strength after sweeping southern Taiwan, made landfall in the early hours near the major city of Xiamen.

The winds shattered windows on high buildings, causing disruption of tap water supplies in many communities in Xiamen.

"The winds and rain got extremely loud after 3 a.m. The cracking sound of windows and tree branches were also scary. The power went out in the shop for several times," said Su Binglin, a night-shift shop assistant at a 24-hour convenient store.

He said he had to use a metal plate to strengthen the shop door to prevent it from shattering. He also used boxes filled with mineral water to consolidate the plate.

At around 6 a.m., the winds abated. Streets in Xiamen are scattered with glass shards, broken tree branches and blown down billboards.

"It is so wretched. Many trees by road sides are fallen, and there are also pondings blocking traffic," said Hu Rong, a delivery man.

The Xiamen Power Supply Co. said that the typhoon has made severe damages to the power grid in Xiamen, causing mass blackout. The electricity supply was also disrupted in Xiamen's outlying islands. As the typhoon is further plowing inland, more damages of the power network are likely.

Thursday coincided with China's Mid-Autumn Festival, which gives a three-day public holiday. Schools and kindergartens in coastal cities of Fuzhou, Xiamen, Zhangzhou, Quanzhou and Putian in Fujian were closed Wednesday in precaution against the typhoon.

Dozens of flights and train services have been cancelled, state television said, inconveniencing people at the start of the three-day holiday.

The railway authorities in Nanchang, east China's Jiangxi Province, announced Wednesday to cancel 144 trains that had been scheduled between Wednesday to Saturday to southern and eastern cities in an emergency response to the typhoon.

Chinese state media reported one death and one person missing, as high winds and rain shattered windows on tall buildings, knocked down trees and disrupted water supplies in China's Fujian province, causing a widespread blackout in the coastal city of Xiamen.

In Taiwan, the Central News Agency reported one person was killed and 44 were injured on the island by the storm.

Typhoon Meranti makes landfall in China
Streets in Quanzhou city in Fujian province flooded after Typhoon Meranti made landfall on Sept 15, 2016. (Photo / X inhua)
Meranti was a Category 5 typhoon, the strongest classification awarded by Tropical Storm Risk storm tracker, before it made landfall on the mainland and has since been downgraded to Category 2.

Typhoons are common at this time of year, picking up strength as they cross the warm waters of the Pacific and bringing fierce winds and rain when they hit land.

Meranti will continue to lose strength as it pushes inland and up towards China's commercial capital of Shanghai, but will bring heavy rain.

China Meteorological Administration issued a red alert warning for Typhoon Meranti on Wednesday, the highest alert in a four-color warning system.

Schools and kindergartens in coastal cities of Fuzhou, Xiamen, Zhangzhou, Quanzhou and Putian were closed Wednesday.

Under China's four-tier severe weather warning system, red is the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

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