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Transport slows as fury nears

updated: 2009-08-10

Some flights, ship services and tour bus routes were canceled in Shanghai yesterday as typhoon Morakot bore down on the Chinese mainland.

Morakot, the Thai word for "turquoise," hit Taiwan last night and was moving northwest at 15 kilometers per hour with gusts near 150kph. The first typhoon of the year to threaten Shanghai was expected to make landfall on the mainland between central Fujian and southern Zhejiang Province tonight or tomorrow. Heavy rain and strong winds were forecast for coastal regions.

Shanghai is expected to feel the effects of the storm from tonight to Tuesday. Winds could gust up to 74kph in the downtown and 117kph in coastal areas. Rainfall was forecast to run as high as 150 millimeters per hour in some areas during peak hours.

Passengers were reminded to check for changes in their flight, ship or bus schedules before leaving home.

China Eastern Airlines canceled two flights to and from Taipei yesterday, as did Shanghai Airlines. Passengers can take other flights in good weather or receive a refund, officials said.

Three international passenger liners, the Allegra, Xinjianzhen and Suzhou that were scheduled to arrive in the city between today and Monday may be delayed because of the coming storm, according to the Shanghai Entry and Exit Administration Police.

Operations were suspended yesterday for more than 40 passenger ships sailing for destinations such as Zhejiang Province's Zhoushan.

Container ships arriving for Yangshan Deep-Water Port in Shanghai's south were asked to leave its waters and anchor in safer areas.

The Shanghai Flood Control Headquarters yesterday issued blue alerts, the lowest level, for the Huangpu River and the Suzhou Creek. The alerts may be upgraded tonight as the typhoon approaches, the headquarters said.

"Suzhou Creek is expected to reach the highest level in three years," headquarters spokesman Zhang Zhenyu said.

The Shanghai Electric Power Co has increased patrols of its facilities, and the city's public sanitation bureau has strengthened street patrols to clean up storm debris.

Meanwhile, double-layer walls have been erected outside the construction site of the Shanghai World Expo Performance Center to prevent potential flooding.

(Shanghai Daily August 10, 2009)

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