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Typhoon Saola hits coastal Guangdong

Updated: Sep 2, 2023 By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou and Wang Xu in Shenzhen, Guangdong China Daily Print
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Workers clear trees blown down by strong winds in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Friday. XUAN HUI/FOR CHINA DAILY

Super typhoon Saola paralyzed the normal operation of major cities in Guangdong province's coastal areas when it heavily battered the southern province, bringing raging storms and strong gales, on Friday night.

Saola, the ninth typhoon this year, brought air, rail, water and road traffic to a halt and scenic spots closed in major cities in Guangdong, a transportation hub in the southern Chinese region, on Friday.

To brace for Saola, major cities, including Shenzhen, Huizhou, Zhuhai, Zhongshan and Shanwei, required their schools and kindergartens to suspend classes, stores to stop business, major outdoor projects to stop construction and residents to go out less to avoid accidents, authorities said.

According to China Railway Guangzhou Group, all the trains departing and arriving in Guangdong have been suspended between 8 pm Friday and 6 pm Saturday to ensure passenger safety.

High-speed passenger train services from Guangzhou to Beijing, Nanning and Guiyang would gradually reopen after 6 pm Saturday, the group said in a statement. Nearly 4,000 trains operating in Guangdong province will suspend operations or make detours to ensure the safety of passengers between Thursday and Sunday, it said.

Meanwhile, ferry services operating in Guangdong's coastal cities have been suspended starting Thursday, and ferry services linking Guangdong to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region were also fully suspended on Friday, authorities said.

In Shenzhen, all departures from the city's international airport were canceled and arrivals were redirected to nearby airports starting Friday noon.

The resumption of flights will depend on the progress of the typhoon and its impact on the area, said the airport.

Meanwhile, the city, which borders Hong Kong, closed major scenic spots and parks as the city upgraded its typhoon alert to red, the highest level of the four-tier warning system, after 2 pm on Friday, local authorities said.

Shenzhen has opened some of its indoor emergency shelters to those in need on Friday, authorities said.

According to the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Authority, the structure across the Pearl River estuary was also closed beginning 3:30 pm on Friday because of the strong gales and storms accompanying Saola.

In addition to suspension of classes, production, construction and business operation, the cities of Huizhou and Shanwei have also temporarily closed their expressways, requiring residents and tourists to stay indoors to avoid any accidents on Friday. Huizhou and Shanwei were struck hard by storms and gales on Friday.

Xie Weijuan, a housewife in Huizhou, said the rain is so heavy that many residents dare not go out. "I can hear the roar of the gale outside," she said.

To brace for Saola, 27,214 fishing vessels have returned to shelters and 12,322 fishermen and offshore workers from ocean ranch fishing rafts have gone ashore as of Thursday, when Guangdong's flood control, drought relief and anti-typhoon headquarters upgraded its anti-typhoon emergency response to Level 1 from Level 3 on Thursday afternoon, local authorities said.

In Guangzhou, operation of the Shiqi-Nansha Passenger Port section of Metro Line 4, plus all the bus services in the entire Nansha district, which is located at the mouth of the Pearl River, was suspended starting 7:30 pm on Friday.

Ferry service across Qiongzhou Strait linking the mainland to Hainan province will be suspended starting 1 pm on Saturday.

Chen Keqi contributed to this story.

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