Two dead as Typhoon Fitow hits China with strong winds and rain

Two have died amid blackouts, cancelled flights and suspended train services

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The Independent Online

Two people died as Typhoon Fitow hit the coast of south-eastern China this morning, battering towns and cities in Fujian province with 150kph (94mph) winds.

Local authorities had issued a red alert – the highest warning available – and more than 750,000 people had been evacuated across two provinces by Sunday evening as the typhoon approached.

It struck closest to Fuding city in the early hours of the morning, before slowing down to be classified as a lesser “tropical storm” after about an hour, according to reports from the National Meteorological Centre.

The Fujian local government said it had called back nearly 30,000 fishing vessels to shore, and moved 177,000 people to higher ground.

Neighbouring Zhejiang province took measures to secure even greater numbers, as whole counties lost power and high-speed rail services were suspended.

At least 27 flights from Wenzhou airport in Zhejiang were cancelled on Sunday, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

And the agency said two people had died in Wenzhou. One of them, a 55-year-old man, was reportedly blown off a hill while heading out to help rescue a stranded fisherman.

The typhoon began dumping heavy and torrential rain across the southeastern seaboard, with rainfall of up to 29cm (8in) in some parts accompanying the gusty winds.

Before striking China, Fitow skirted the northern coast of Taiwan, causing heavy rain and significant flight disruptions but resulting in no casualties and only minimal damage.

Officials said it delayed or cancelled more than 200 domestic and international flights there, and brought about the evacuation of several hundred people from northern Taiwanese communities considered vulnerable to rain-induced mudslides.

Huge waves hit the dike as Typhoon Fitow moves to make its landfall in east China's Zhejiang province