Typhoon Talim expected to smash into China late Monday

By Liz Lee and Ryan Woo

BEIJING (Reuters) -Tropical storm Talim strengthened into a typhoon early on Monday and is set to be the first to make landfall in China this year, prompting authorities to issue flood warnings, cancel flights and trains, and order people to stay at home.

The China Meteorological Administration said the typhoon was expected to increase in intensity to become “severe” by the time it makes landfall at night along the southern coast between Guangdong and Hainan.

As of 5:18 p.m. (0918 GMT), China’s meteorological centre said Talim was located 110 km (68 miles) southeast of Zhanjiang city in Guangdong province, with gusts near its centre clocked at a top speed of 40 m/s (144 kmh).

Winds stronger than 41.5 m/s would put Talim in the severe typhoon category, very rare for a typhoon this early in the rainy season.

The national forecaster has urged authorities in Guangdong and Hainan to be on standby to respond to the typhoon.

Markets in Hong Kong halted trade for the day as the city’s observatory put up a storm signal for Talim, and all court hearings in the city were adjourned.

China’s meteorological centre forecast gale force winds in seas near southern provinces and regions and exceptionally heavy rains of 250-280 mm (9.8-11 inches) on the southwestern coast of Guangxi and northern Hainan Island.

Parts of Guangxi were told to brace for flash floods through Tuesday.

“Violent” waves of 6 to 9 m (20 to 30 feet) are expected to assail northern parts of the South China Sea through Tuesday, according to state media.

Hainan’s Marine Forecasting Station warned of waves of up of 6 m south of the tourist island, Xinhua reported.

Authorities in Hainan asked ships in nearby waters to return to port and ferry services between Hainan and Guangdong were suspended early on Sunday.


Zhuhai Jinwan Airport in Guangdong cancelled 43 inbound and 36 outbound flights on Monday, and Meilan International Airport in Hainan’s capital city Haikou and Qionghai Boao Airport, also on the resort island, cancelled all flights, state media reported.

High-speed railway and suburban trains on Hainan were suspended as well, with routes connecting to the tourist island shut until Friday.

Haikou city will also suspend classes, work, flights, and park and business activities from noon Monday, requiring residents to stay home, state television CCTV reported. Emergency shelters were opened to the public, it said.

In Fujian, north of Guangdong, local authorities declared a rainstorm emergency, with rains and thunderstorms predicted to persist from the weekend in most counties and cities.

The Chinese meteorological centre said rainfall in several cities in southeastern Fujian and eastern Jiangsu provinces reached 200-300 mm (7.87-11.81 inches) within three hours early on Monday.

Even before Talim’s arrival, passengers on a public bus in Jiangsu waded through knee-high water to get to their seats after the vehicle ploughed through a water-logged road, videos posted on social media showed.

“The water in some places is already a metre deep,” a social media user said.

(Reporting by Liz Lee; Additional reporting by Beijing newsroom and Jessie Pang in Hong Kong; Editing by Lincoln Feast, Himani Sarkar, Tom Hogue and Sharon Singleton)