[Updated] Typhoon Lashes China, One Million Evacuated

track of typhoon

Published Jul 12, 2015 5:15 PM by The Maritime Executive

China's eastern coast took less of a battering than feared after Super Typhoon Chan-hom changed course and lost much of its strength shortly after making landfall near Shanghai late on Saturday.

Chan-hom, which Chinese government meteorologists feared would be the powerful typhoon to hit China in decades, packed winds of 162 kph (101 mph) as it landed on the coast of Zhejiang Province but soon veered back to sea and toward the Korean peninsula.

Meteorological agencies in China, South Korea and Japan downgraded Chan-hom to a tropical storm on Sunday, warning it would continue to lash surrounding coastal areas with heavy rainfall and gales as it moved across the Yellow Sea.

Rainstorms are expected to continue in the provinces of Shandong, Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang on Sunday and Monday with authorities issuing a “blue” rainstorm alert. China has a four-tier weather warning system. Red represents the most severe weather, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

No casualties had been reported by midday Sunday, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

While the storm's detour spared eastern China from a bigger disaster, heavy rains in recent days have forced the evacuation of 1.1 million people and flooded cities in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui provinces.

Economic activity on China's wealthy eastern seaboard was heavily disrupted as authorities cancelled trains and flights out of two Shanghai airports and ordered around 50,000 ships back to port.

Typhoons are common at this time of year in the South China Sea, picking up strength from warm waters before dissipating over land.

Earlier this week, typhoon Linfa moved slowly across the north of the Southeast Asian archipelago and up to China's southern province of Guangdong.