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Powerful Typhoon Fitow hits eastern China

A powerful typhoon has slammed into China's east coast with powerful winds and heavy rains. More than half a million people were moved to safety in the hours ahead of Typhoon Fitow making landfall.

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Eastern China reels from typhoon

Typhoon Fitow hit eastern China early Monday with winds of up to 151 kilometers (94 miles) per hour, the National Meteorological Center reported.

According to China's state news agency, Xinhua, the typhoon cut power in towns and counties in Zhejiang province near China's commercial hub Shanghai, which saw almost 29 centimeters (11 inches) of rain over 17 hours from Sunday to early Monday. Dozens of high-speed rail services in the region were suspended and at least 27 flights out of Wenzhou airport in Zhejiang were canceled on Sunday.

Neighboring Fujian province saw up to 16 centimeters of rain, Xinhua said.

In anticipation of the typhoon making landfall on Sunday, the National Meteorological Center issued a red alert - the highest possible warning. Around 574,000 people were moved from their homes in Zhejiang, the province's flood relief agency said. A further 177,000 were moved to safety from Fujian. Tens of thousands of boats were also called back to harbor across the region.

Fitow, now downgraded to a tropical storm, earlier passed through Japan's southern Okinawan island chain, also forcing flight cancellations and causing power outages.

It hit just two weeks after Typhoon Usagi struck southern China leaving at least 25 dead.

ccp/lw (AP, AFP)

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