BEIJING — A powerful typhoon killed at least 18 people in China after making landfall on the east coast early Saturday and moving north toward Shanghai, state media reported.The storm, Typhoon Lekima, also destroyed at least 200 homes and left 16 people missing, according to the reports. It made landfall as a super typhoon at about 1:45 a.m., in Zhejiang province near the city of Taizhou, and weakened as it moved north, the reports said.The reports did not say where the deaths had occurred, but authorities said Taizhou and two other cities, Wenzhou and Ningbo, were especially hard-hit.
Waves hit a sea wall in front of buildings in Taizhou, China’s eastern Zhejiang province on August 9, 2019.
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As the storm approached Shanghai, officials said that more than 200,000 people in the area had been moved as a precaution. Almost 300 flights and more than 1,200 trains were canceled as the typhoon moved slowly inland, reports said.The storm struck China after veering north of Taiwan, where city and county governments had canceled work and classes on Friday in anticipation of heavy rainfall and strong winds. With the typhoon tracking toward the capital, Taipei, and other major cities in the area, shoppers cleared grocery store shelves of fresh produce in anticipation of being stuck indoors for the day.But Thursday night’s lashings of heavy rains had diminished to relatively light intermittent showers by Friday morning as Lekima moved north, heading toward China.China issued a red alert along the coast, the most serious of its four possible typhoon warnings, before the storm arrived. A red alert authorizes officials to order evacuations, suspend train and air travel and force ships back to port.
Rescuers look for survivors in the rubble of damaged buildings after a landslide caused by torrential rain from Typhoon Lekima, at Yongjia, in Wenzhou, in China’s eastern Zhejiang province on August 10, 2019.
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Multiple flights out of cities including Shanghai and Hangzhou were canceled on Friday. Several trains heading to and from the Yangtze River Delta region out of Beijing were also canceled.Authorities in the eastern province of Shandong said torrential flooding was likely in parts of the province for several days, adding that the downpours would also help ease drought concerns and replenish reservoirs.The maritime safety authorities in Hangzhou said that starting on Thursday, 244 passenger ships had suspended service and that 432 ships carrying hazardous materials had entered sheltered waters.The provincial authorities in Jiangsu province said operations were underway to increase drainage of major lakes and ports in the region to bring down water levels before the rainstorms, according to local media reports.Forecasters had predicted that heavy rain and gale force winds would hit Shanghai late Friday and continue until Sunday. Shanghai residents were seen using tape to reinforce windows. More than 25,000 tourists were evacuated on Thursday from Putuo Mountain, southeast of Shanghai, according to local media reports.