Tropical storm Muifa nears Chinese mainland

Tropical storm Muifa nears Chinese mainlandHigh winds and torrential rain are battering parts of eastern China as the region’s most powerful storm in decades approaches land.Muifa was downgraded from a typhoon to a severe tropical storm on Monday but was still causing huge disruption.It is now expected to make landfall somewhere between Zhuanghe in Liaoning province and western North Korea on Monday evening.

Qingdao city in Shandong province shut its beaches as the storm swept by.The storm also downed trees and electricity poles in South Korea, leaving thousands of homes without power.Many domestic flights between Seoul and the island of Jeju have been cancelled.Further south, the Chinese financial capital of Shanghai avoided a direct hit, though strong winds downed power lines and blew away billboards.More than 300,000 people were evacuated and thousands of ships called ashore.

Muifa has already left four people dead in the Philippines and 27 injured on the Japanese island of Okinawa.

Power cuts

China’s Central Meteorological Station said on Sunday that Muifa was creating sea gusts of up to 63mph (102km/h) and moving at a speed of about 15mph (25km/h).China’s official Xinhua news agency said the storm had destroyed nearly 170 homes and caused damage estimated at 1.9bn yuan ($290m; £176m) in the eastern province of Zhejiang.
Power cuts have been reported in at least two residential areas of Shanghai. A 24-year-old man was also reported missing while swimming in heavy surf in the city’s Jinshan district, local TV reported.

In addition to evacuating residents and calling ships back to harbour, the authorities cancelled more than 200 flights and closed two bridges to outlying islands. Train and bus services were thrown into disarray.Heavy rain is also forecast for parts of North Korea, which suffered flooding late last month.About 30 people died, thousands of homes were destroyed and farmland was badly damaged, state media say.