Evacuations in Shanghai ahead of typhoon

Tuesday 18 September 2007 12.33
Evacuations in Shanghai ahead of typhoon

200,000 people are being evacuated in China's financial capital Shanghai ahead of the expected landfall of Typhoon Wipha this afternoon.

The typhoon, with winds of 155 km/h, is expected to make landfall in east China at around 5pm Irish time, after gale-force winds and driving rains first hit northern Taiwan.

Shanghai, as well as the heavily-populated provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian, are on high alert after Chinese meteorologists said the typhoon could strengthen as it approaches the city.

'This is the first time in 10 years that the eye of the storm will probably make landfall in Shanghai,' said Ding Ruoyang of the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

Up to 200mm of rain is expected to fall in the city, while winds are expected to gust above 102 km/h.

He said the evacuation includes residents who live in old and dangerous houses, workers who live in temporary construction site structures as well as those living near the shore. Schools have been closed but airports remain open.

Matches at the Women's World Cup have been postponed and one fixture scheduled for tomorrow has been relocated a three-hour drive away to neighbouring Hangzhou.