Typhoon Haima lashes China's south coast

PHOTO: Reuters

"The strong gale almost blew me away," said Huang Rongjun, a resident in the city of Shanwei, after Typhoon Haima made landfall in Guangdong province.

"I was all wet when I returned home at noon, and I saw many umbrellas blown away, as well as some billboards and tree branches taken down by the storm," said the young woman worker.

"Many people will have to stay at home on Friday night due to the bad weather."

According to an engineer surnamed Zhang in charge of equipment operation and maintenance at a local wind power station in Shanwei, the power grid has been shut down since Thursday night.

"Haima is so strong that more than 10 electricity generating units at the power station have been knocked out, resulting in economic losses valued at millions of yuan," Zhang told China Daily on Friday.

Haima, meaning sea horse in Chinese, made landfall in Houmen township in Shanwei at 12:40 pm on Friday. It has caused widespread economic losses and wreaked havoc in Guangdong's eastern coastal cities.

Haima, the 22nd typhoon to hit the Chinese coast this year, is the strongest one to strike Guangdong province in late October.

Typhoon Haima kills at least 8 in Philippines

  • One of the most powerful typhoons to ever hit the Philippines killed at least eight people on Thursday as ferocious gales and landslides destroyed tens of thousands of homes.
  • Super Typhoon Haima struck late on Wednesday night with winds similar to those of catastrophic Haiyan in 2013, which was then the strongest storm to strike the disaster-prone Southeast Asian archipelago and claimed more than 7,350 lives.
  • Haima then roared across mountain and farming communities of the northern regions of the main island of Luzon overnight, causing widespread destruction and killing at least eight people, authorities said.
  • "We were frightened because of the strong winds. There was no power, no help coming," Jovy Dalupan, 20, told AFP as she sheltered at nightfall on the side of a highway in San Pablo, a badly damaged town of 20,000 people in Isabela province.
  • Dalupan, her two young daughters and husband, were forced to flee to the highway along with their neighbours during the height of the storm when their shanty homes, made of plywood, were ripped apart.
  • Haima hit coastal towns facing the Pacific Ocean with sustained winds of 225 kilometres (140 miles) an hour, and wind gusts of up to 315 kilometres.
  • It weakened overnight as it rammed into giant mountain ranges and by Thursday morning had passed over the western edge of Luzon and into the South China Sea, heading towards southern China.
  • The governor of Cagayan, a province of 600,000 people neighbouring Isabela where Haima made landfall, said the entire region was without power as he reported widespread destruction.
  • "Almost every house here has been damaged," governor Manuel Mamba told ABS CBN television.
  • President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday night all possible preparations had been made for Haima, with tens of thousands of people evacuated, but he still struck an ominous tone.
  • Authorities said two of those killed, aged 16 and 17, were buried in a landslide while sleeping in a house in Ifugao, a mountainous area that is home to stunning rice terraces that are listed by the United Nations as a World Heritage site
  • Two other people were buried in a shanty in another mountainous region, the disaster risk council's division in the northern Philippines reported.
  • At least eight people had been confirmed dead, according to Edgar Allan Tabell, director of the national government's disaster information coordinating centre in Manila.
  • But with authorities in many devastated areas still unable to report back because of power and communication lines being cut, the death toll was expected to rise.
  • The Philippine islands are often the first major landmass to be hit by storms that generate over the Pacific Ocean.
  • The Southeast Asian archipelago endures about 20 major storms each year, many of them deadly.
  • The most powerful and deadliest was Haiyan, which destroyed entire towns in heavily populated areas of the central Philippines in November 2013.
  • The national capital Manila is about 350 kilometres south of where Haima struck land.
  • However the city, with about 12 million people, was not affected, hit only by moderate winds overnight and little rain.
  • Haima was the second typhoon to hit the northern Philippines in a week, after Sarika struck on Sunday claiming at least one life and leaving three people missing.

Government departments are still busy calculating the direct economic losses caused by Haima. In Hong Kong, the government received at least 197 reports of fallen trees in the city, and 12 people were injured as of 4 pm.

According to Guangzhou Railway Group, all passenger train services in Guangdong's eastern coastal areas ceased on Friday.

More than 570 flights in Shenzhen had been cancelled as of 9 am on Friday because of Haima. Shenzhen Baoan International Airport did not resume departure service until 6 pm.

China Southern Airlines also cancelled flights in Jieyang airport on Friday.

In Hong Kong, at least 742 flights were cancelled as of 2 pm, according to the Airport Authority of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong in lockdown as Typhoon Haima nears

  • People run away from a big wave on a waterfront as Typhoon Haima approaches in Hong Kong.
  • A taxi drives past a big wave on a waterfront as Typhoon Haima approaches in Hong Kong.
  • A man takes a photo on a waterfront as Typhoon Haima approaches in Hong Kong.
  • A man walks in front of big waves along a waterfront as Typhoon Haima approaches in Hong Kong.
  • A man uses a smartphone under strong winds near a waterfront as Typhoon Haima approaches in Hong Kong.
  • A woman and her dog dress in raincoats as they walk while Typhoon Haima approaches in Hong Kong.
  • People stand beside a big wave on a waterfront as Typhoon Haima approaches in Hong Kong.
  • Big waves hit a waterfront as Typhoon Haima approaches in Hong Kong.
  • The usually frenetic streets of Hong Kong were deserted Friday (Oct 21) as the city went into lockdown for Typhoon Haima, which has killed at least eight people in the Philippines.
  • Flights were cancelled, roads were clear of cars and pavements empty, with schools and offices shut as the storm loomed south-east of Hong Kong.
  • Trading on the city's stock exchange was postponed and was unlikely to resume Friday.
  • At 8am, Haima's centre was 190km away and was expected to come closest to the city around noon, before moving on to southern mainland China.
  • The Hong Kong Observatory raised its Number 8 storm signal early Friday - the third highest warning level - forecasting strong winds and rain.
  • "Seas are rough and there are swells. Members of the public should stay on high alert, stay away from the shoreline," the observatory said, with wind speeds expected to reach more than 60kmh.
  • Despite the warning, some residents headed to the harbour to take pictures of waves, while some lone anglers also tried their luck.
  • Ferry services including the city's famous cross-harbour Star Ferry were cancelled as waters grew increasingly choppy.
  • More than 200 flights have been axed in and out of Hong Kong, local media reported.
  • Flagship carrier Cathay Pacific said it expected "significant disruptions" to its flights between 11am and 10pm Friday.
  • Underground metro train services were also reduced and all buses cancelled.
  • Thursday night saw a citywide swoop on supermarket shelves with massive queues as residents stocked up ahead of the storm. Some shops boarded up windows to protect against wind-borne debris.
  • The city is expected to remain in lockdown for most of Friday until the storm passes.
  • Haima which means "seahorse" in Chinese, had already wreaked havoc in the Philippines where it brought ferocious gales and landslides.

Liang Jian, chief forecaster with the Guangdong provincial meteorological observatory, said Haima is expected to weaken in Jiangxi province on Saturday morning after more than 12 hours of lashing Guangdong.

But the eastern and northern parts of Guangdong will witness downpours in the next one or two days, Liang said.

He Guoguang, an official in charge of flood relief with the Guangdong provincial department of water resources, urged relevant departments to introduce effective and concrete measures to prevent possible flooding in major rivers and landslides in the mountainous cities in the coming two days.

The Hong Kong Observatory raised a No 8 storm signal early on Friday morning, as Haima approached. Gales and heavy rains caused disturbances across the city.

In a Wellcome supermarket store in Hung Hom, Kowloon, a cashier surnamed Chan, who had worked the day shift since 6 am, said she had been so busy that she hardly had time to go to the bathroom.

Shelves for vegetables and meats were almost empty while there was no evident price hike. She said the checkout line never seemed to end and she felt exhausted.

However, prices of vegetables in wet markets went up around 10 per cent on Friday.