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East China on high alert as Super Typhoon Wipha approaches


Southeast Asia

The region is on high alert as Typhoon Wipha, now classed as severe, approaches its coastal areas. Shanghai and the provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian are preparing to face its full brunt.

The national meteorological observatory is warning the typhoon could cause the worst damage in recent years. Wipha upgraded from a regular typhoon on Monday afternoon. At 6 pm, its center was located about 750 kilometers southeast of Taizhou in Zhejiang Province. Wipha is heading northwest at a speed of 20 kilometers an hour, packing winds of nearly 200 kilometers an hour.

The provincial flood control headquarters believe Wipha could develop into a super typhoon and is very likely to hit the southern areas between Cangnan and Xiangshan on the Zhejiang coast late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

A warning has been issued to the public and local authorities to prepare to recall vessels, relocate residents, patrol reservoirs and brace for geological disasters.

Typhoon Wipha has taken aim at Shanghai forcing Chinese authorities to evacuate thousands of people from the country's financial hub. The Typhoon is currently targeting north of Taiwan where all offices and major business establishments remained closed.

Forecasters said Wipha had gathered strength over the last 24 hours with wind speeds reaching 200 kilometers per hour. It was expected that the typhoon would bring heavy rains on Tuesday.

Typhoon warnings have been issued for Shanghai, Zhejiang and Fujian, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Authorities said around 200,000 people were being evacuated from low-lying areas in Shanghai.



BEIJING, China (CNN) -- Typhoon Wipha, with wind gusts up to 185 mph (298 kph), forced schools and businesses in Taiwan to close Tuesday as it churned toward the central Chinese coast.

At least 200,000 people -- mostly migrant workers -- were being moved into movie theaters, arenas and other public buildings in Shanghai ahead of the typhoon's arrival, which is expected Wednesday morning, according to Shanghai Flood Control spokesman Zhang Zhenyu.

Wipha was centered about 70 miles (112 kilometers) east-southeast of Taipei, Taiwan, as of 3 p.m. Japan Standard Time Tuesday (2 a.m. ET), and was moving toward the west-northwest at 17 mph (27 kph), according to the advisory from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It had sustained winds of 150 mph (241 kph) and 36-foot (11-meter) ocean waves.

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