China hit by first typhoon of the year, record rainfall predicted

SHANGHAI, July 2 (Reuters) – China’s first typhoon of the year brought gales and rain to its southern coasts on Saturday, as forecasters warned of record rainfall and disaster risk high in provinces such as Guangdong, the country’s most populous.

Typhoon Chaba, the Thai name for the hibiscus flower, was moving northwest at a speed of 15 to 20 km (10 to 15 miles) per hour after the eye of the storm made landfall in the Maoming City, Guangdong, on Saturday afternoon, the National Meteorological Center said in a statement. statement.

Chaba, although medium in intensity and expected to lose strength over time, is likely to bring extremely heavy rains and could break the record for cumulative rainfall by pulling the monsoon rain belt in the region eastward. inland, said Gao Shuanzhu, the center’s chief forecaster.

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“Abundant monsoon water vapor will bring intense torrential rains and huge cumulative rainfall of an extreme nature,” Gao said, predicting up to 600mm (24 inches) of cumulative rainfall in some areas.

Western Guangdong, where Chinese typhoons usually linger, eastern Guangxi Autonomous Region and the island province of Hainan are at risk, with torrential rains causing landslides, urban waterlogging and flooding , Gao said.

Hainan upgraded its emergency response to Level II, the second highest, on Saturday. It suspended rail service across the island and canceled more than 400 flights to and from the cities of Haikou and Sanya.

In Macau, one person was injured due to wind and rain as they approached Chaba, state television reported.

In the waters off Hong Kong, 270 km (170 miles) northeast of Maoming, more than two dozen crew of an engineering vessel with 30 people on board were missing after it got broken in two in the waters as Chaba passed, authorities said. Read more

In recent weeks, historic rainfall and flooding in southern China has destroyed property, paralyzed traffic and disrupted daily life for millions of people in one of the country’s most populous and economically key regions.

Severe weather, including unusually heavy flooding, is expected to continue in China through August, forecasters predicted this week, with climate change partly to blame. Read more

(This story refiles to correct a typo in the last paragraph)

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Reporting by Zhang Yan and Ryan Woo; Editing by William Mallard

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