Typhoon Muifa heads towards China's Qingdao port

Click to follow

High waters and heavy surf battered China's northern port of Qingdao as Typhoon Muifa approached today on its way up the coast.

Authorities closed beaches and piled sandbags along Qingdao's waterfront, after evacuating hundreds of thousands of people from coastal homes further south and calling more than 30,000 ships back to shore.

In the commercial capital of Shanghai, where strong winds downed power lines and blew away billboards, a 24-year-old man was reported missing while swimming in heavy surf in the city's Jinshan district, Shanghai Television reported.

The rains threw train and bus services into disarray. Hundreds of flights in eastern China have been cancelled over the weekend.

Muifa — moving northwest about 15 miles per hour over the East China Sea — was forecast to hit the Shandong peninsula near Qingdao early tomorrow and weaken to a tropical storm, the Hong Kong Observatory said. Today the Category 1 typhoon was about 125 miles east-northeast of Shanghai, passing west of South Korea with winds gusting at up to 85 miles per hour.

South Korean authorities issued a tidal wave and flood warning along the country's west and south coast and urged steps to prevent possible flooding. Many domestic flights between Seoul and the southern island of Jeju were cancelled, according to Yonhap news agency.

Heavy rain was also forecast tomorrow and Tuesday for parts of North Korea, which has been hit by massive flooding that has damaged wide swathes of farmland as well as tens of thousands of homes.

Last week, Typhoon Muifa killed four people in the Philippines without making landfall. In Japan it caused 27 injuries in Okinawa on Friday and knocked out power to more than 60,000 homes, Japan's Kyodo News agency said.