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4/21/2008

Early typhoon hits

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China

In Macau, at 1.30pm the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau raised the warning signal from 3 to 8, which prompted a surge of phone calls which appeared to temporarily bring down the mobile phone network. Coming two months before the official start of the season, it was the EARLIEST TYPHOON WARNING THE BUREAU HAD ISSUED IN AT LEAST 40 YEARS. Cranes swayed, trees were uprooted and scaffolding damaged in the following five hours of gale force winds which reached up to 109 kilometres an hour. Waters rose and waves battered the coast while the bridges connecting Taipa with the peninsula were closed at 3pm. The La Niña effect was blamed for the early typhoon and history shows the periodic cooling of surface ocean waters in the eastern tropical Pacific is likely to bring about more typhoons in the coming months.

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Massive mudslide traps 200 in Three Gorges area - Emergency workers are trying to rescue almost 200 people from a village that was almost inundated by a massive landslide in central China on Saturday. Continuous rain triggered a landslide of 60,000 cubic meters of mud, which swept into a schoolyard and a village of 37 homes at the Three Gorges Dam area in Hubei Province on Saturday afternoon. The rain had washed away 20,000 cubic meters of the mud in Xiaohe Village of Gaoyang Township. The mud flow still threatens to inundate a school building and the homes of 179 people in the village. Rainstorms have slammed the geographically vulnerable reservoir area since Friday. Up to 106 millimeters of rain have fallen so far. Weather forecasters say the rain would continue in coming days, which would continue to swell exuding underground water at the landslide site. The disaster relief staff expect that the landslide area will worsen due to the bad weather. Gaoyang is to be the last town to be relocated to make way for the raising of the reservoir level to 175 meters in 2009 from the current level of 156 meters. A total of 2,000 villagers are expected to be relocated.
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