Tropical Storm Ma-On Headed for Southeastern China
BEIJING — Tropical Storm Ma-on was gaining strength as it headed for Hong Kong and other parts of southeastern China on Wednesday after displacing thousands in the Philippines.
Many cities of Guangdong suspended ferry and high-speed rail service, and workers working on offshore projects were evacuated. All flights were canceled at Shenzhen’s airport, which is a Chinese tech centre bordering Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Observatory increased its No. Tuesday evening’s 8 signal, warning of winds at a mean speed of 63 km/h or greater. An 8 signal is usually raised when a gale or storm is expected to hit Hong Kong. The No.8 signal indicates that a severe storm is likely to affect Hong Kong.
Also, the observatory warned about flooding in low-lying regions and advised residents not to cross the coastline. Ma-on has no impact on the 7.4million-strong southern Chinese financial center.
The storm is expected to make landfall around noon Thursday on the coast of Guangdong, about 200 kilometers (120 miles) southwest of Hong Kong, and weaken as it moves inland toward the Guangxi region, Yunnan province and northern Vietnam, China’s National Meteorological Center said on its website.
The storm’s arrival comes as many parts of central and western China are facing severe drought brought on by temperatures that broke records for August, withering crops and endangering drinking water supplies.
Cloud seeding has been used in Sichuan to encourage rainfall. Hydropower plants that generate around 80% of the province’s electricity have operated at far-reduced capacity, forcing rolling brownouts and the cutting of factory work hours.
Ma-on was slightly weaker after traversing mountainous provinces of the Philippines. At least three people sustained injuries from trees that were felled by high winds. The capital Manila closed all government offices and classes.
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