By Bernard Orr and Yimou Lee
BEIJING/TAIPEI (Reuters) -Typhoon Doksuri swept into southern China on Friday, unleashing heavy rain and violent gusts of wind that whipped power lines and sparked fires, uprooted trees, and ripped off part of a stadium roof.
The typhoon is the most powerful to make landfall in China this year and second-strongest to hit southeastern Fujian province since Typhoon Meranti in 2016, forcing the closure of schools, businesses and the evacuation of workers from offshore oil and gas fields, state media said.
Doksuri has affected more than 724,600 people, with 124,400 people evacuated and resettled, and caused direct economic losses of 52.27 million yuan ($7.30 million), media reported.
In the Fujian port city of Quanzhou, 39 people were reported to have suffered minor injuries, and more than 500,000 homes lost power.
The retractable roof of a stadium in downtown Quanzhou was ripped apart as wind lashed its huge dome, sending glass and metal flying.
Doksuri’s wind speed was downgraded to severe tropical storm but torrential rain was still expected to hit inland provinces such as Anhui, which grows corn, rice, soybean and cotton.
Its massive rain bands are expected to arc as far north as Beijing on Sunday or Monday.
There were no immediate reports of fatalities. In 2016, at least 11 people were killed when Meranti made landfall near the port city of Xiamen, south of Quanzhou.
“The whole of Xiamen didn’t go to work this morning,” said a resident surnamed Zhuang.
“There are no cars on the roads, and factories and shopping malls are closed. Guess people are scared after Meranti.”
Social media video showed power lines sparking and bursting into flames as winds thrashed Jinjiang, a city of 2 million, while in Quanzhou trees were uprooted and left in the middle of roads.
On one video, a woman can be heard shouting: “So many fallen tress. Some are broken down. It is a mess. This is too much. It is horrible.”
Social media videos showed the wind blowing a large incense burner across the ground at a temple in Jinjiang while residents tried to stop the rain from flooding into their apartments.
Residents told Reuters power and water were cut in some areas of Jinjiang and Quanzhou.
Typhoon Doksuri has already left a wake of death and destruction as it moved from the Philippines across southern Taiwan.
In the Philippines, a ferry sank near Manila, killing at least 26 after frightened passengers rushed to one side of the boat and caused it to overturn. As many as 36 people were killed in the Philippines.
In southern Taiwan, the storm toppled trees and cut power to hundreds of thousands of homes. Authorities shut businesses for a second day on Friday and warned of extreme winds, landslides and floods.
The storm had cut power to more than 278,000 homes across Taiwan and downed hundreds of trees in Kaohsiung. Rainfall of more than 1 metre was recorded in the mountainous eastern and southern parts of the island.
More than 200 domestic and international flights were suspended or delayed on Friday and railway services between southern and eastern Taiwan were halted.
($1 = 7.16 yuan)
(Reporting by Bernard Orr and Ryan Woo in Beijing, Yimou Lee in Taipei, additional reporting by Dominique Patton, Yuhan Lin, Kevin Huang, Ethan Wang and the Beijing and Shanghai newsrooms; Editing by Michael Perry and Neil Fullick.)