POSTED: 2:50 a.m. HST, Aug 6, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 2:49 a.m. HST, Aug 7, 2011
BEIJING >> More than 200,000 coastal residents in eastern China have evacuated and thousands of ships were called back to shore Saturday as Typhoon Muifa bore down on the country after battering the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan.
Zhejiang province moved 206,664 people from its coastal areas while another 80,400 were evacuated in Fujian province, according to local government websites. Thousands of ships along the eastern coast were also called back to shore, they said.
Typhoon Muifa is forecast to hit China early Monday morning, making landfall in the eastern province of Shandong and skimming the coast as it heads north, China's Central Meteorological Administration said.
On Saturday evening, the storm was about 180 miles south of Zhoushan city in Zhejiang province and moving northwest over the East China Sea at about 12 miles an hour, it said.
Though earlier forecasts put China's commercial hub of Shanghai directly in the typhoon's path, the city of 23 million appeared late Saturday to have dodged the brunt of the storm. It was still expected to experience torrential rains and high winds, the administration said.
Dozens of flights in and out of Shanghai and the nearby cities of Wenzhou and Hangzhou were canceled as a precaution and more than 500 people evacuated from Shanghai's coastal areas. The municipal government said rail authorities were also prepared to slow or delay high-speed rail services, depending on the severity of the storm.
Last week, Typhoon Muifa killed four people in the Philippines even though it did not make landfall. The storm caused power outages and injuries as it passed by Japan's southern island of Okinawa on Friday and dusted northern Taiwan with light rain and moderate winds.
Japan's Kyodo News agency said the typhoon caused 27 injuries on Okinawa and knocked out power to more than 60,000 homes.
North Korea's state news agency reported late Friday that some parts of the country would receive heavy rain from the typhoon between Monday and Tuesday. Flooding in recent weeks has caused deaths and damage to homes and farmland in the impoverished country.