China Braces for Typhoon Lekima as Strongest Storm to Hit Region in 2019

By Samson Ellis | August 9, 2019

Flights and high-speed train services were canceled in Shanghai as the strongest typhoon to hit the region this year swept past Taiwan and headed toward the Chinese coast.

Air China Ltd., China Eastern Airlines Corp. and China Southern Airlines Co. were among those announcing cancellations, mainly for flights between Shanghai and Taiwan on Friday, as Typhoon Lekima approached. Taiwanese airlines canceled about 520 international and domestic flights, according to local aviation authorities.

Shanghai also warned some high-speed rail services will be halted on Saturday, the city’s news office said on its WeChat account Thursday.

Mainland China’s main financial hub braced for Lekima after the typhoon ravaged Taiwan and Japan. Government offices, schools and businesses, including financial markets, were shut across northern Taiwan Friday. More than 50,000 homes lost power overnight, though electricity was mostly restored by Friday morning.

Taiwan’s Central Emergency Operation Center reported at least one death and four injuries in the wake of the storm.

At least four people were injured in Okinawa, while flights and ferries across the southern Japanese islands experienced widespread disruptions, according to a report by the Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said Lekima had sustained wind speeds of 184 kilometers per hour (114 mph), with gusts of 227 kilometers an hour (141 mph), Friday morning. Scott Hsieh, a senior meteorologist at CWB, said it was the strongest typhoon in the western Pacific so far this year.

China’s National Meteorological Administration forecasts Lekima, which it classifies as a super typhoon, to make landfall in Zhejiang province south of Shanghai, before turning north toward the city.

–With assistance from Adela Lin.

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