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Hainan rocked as typhoon causes chaos

Liu Xiaoli in Haikou and Cang Wei in Nanjing
Updated: Sep 17,2014 11:06 AM     China Daily

Huge waves are seen on the seashore in typhoon-hit Haikou City, capital of south China’s Hainan province, Sept 16, 2014. Typhoon Kalmaegi made landfall on Hainan Island on Sept 16. [Photo/Xinhua]

Flights, buses and rail services were canceled and schools closed as a typhoon with wind gusts of up to 144 km/h made landfall in Hainan province on Sept 16.

Typhoon Kalmaegi, the fifteenth to hit China this year, made landfall in Wengtian, a township in Wenchang, at 9:40 am.

As of 5 p.m., 119 fights had been canceled at Haikou Meilan International Airport in the provincial capital. No flights were allowed to land or take off at the airport.

People walk past broken branches in typhoon-hit Qionghai city, South China’s Hainan province, Sept 16, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

As of 3 p.m., 110 flights had also been canceled at Sanya Phoenix International Airport.

All bus services in Haikou were canceled in the morning of Sept 16. Rail services in the province, including the only high-speed bullet train, were also suspended.

As of 2 pm, 352,867 people had been evacuated in the province, according to the local authority. Some areas of Haikou and Wenchang and the counties of Lingao and Chengmai were inundated by seawater.

People ride on flooded road in typhoon-hit Qionghai City, South China’s Hainan province, Sept 16, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

Ferry services from Hainan to the mainland, about 30 km away, were also suspended due to high waves.

The alert level for waves was upgraded to “red”, the most severe, by the state marine forecast station.

The China Meteorological Administration issued an “orange” alert, the second-most severe warning under the national four-tier weather warning system.

Schools and kindergartens in Haikou have been suspended from the afternoon of Sept 15 to Sept 17, while universities and businesses were closed on Sept 16.

Typhoon Kalmaegi also halted the electricity supply in many residential communities on Sept 16. As of 3:30 pm, 221 communities were still without power, the local government said.

A woman walks past broken branches in typhoon-hit Qionghai city, South China’s Hainan province, Sept 16, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

Haikou resident Lin Jinzhu, who owns a 10-square-meter clothing store, said she had never experienced two typhoons causing severe damage in the same year.

“I’ve been selling clothes here for 20 years but have never felt so afraid of the weather,” Lin said. “Typhoon Rammasun flooded all the clothing stores in July, so this time we have been well prepared and put the clothes on higher shelves.”

Super Typhoon Rammasun, which made landfall on July 18, killed at least 56 people and left 20 missing in Hainan and Guangdong provinces.

A man holding a young girl in arms walk on flooded road in typhoon-hit Haikou city, capital of South China’s Hainan province, Sept 16, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

The China Meteorological Administration said that from 2 pm on Sept 16 to 2 pm on Sept 17, Hainan, southern Guangdong, southern and eastern Yunnan and southern and western areas of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region would see 250 to 300 millimeters of rain.

Typhoon Kalmaegi made landfall in the northern Philippines on Sunday night, causing flooding in some areas. Six people were killed on Saturday night when a passenger ferry sank as the storm approached.

In Hong Kong, Kalmaegi caused 29 injuries, flight delays and closed the stock market and container ports.