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Typhoon Hits Eastern China With Strong Winds, Rain

October 7, 2013

By The Associated Press

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BEIJING - A typhoon slammed into southeastern China on Monday with powerful winds and heavy rains that killed at least five people, cut power, canceled flights and suspended train services.

Typhoon Fitow struck Fuding city in Fujian province with winds of up to 94 miles an hour in the early morning, then slowed before weakening to a tropical storm, the National Meteorological Center said.

More than half a million people had been evacuated and fishing boats were called back to port while authorities issued a red alert - the highest warning - on Sunday as the typhoon approached.

The provincial flood relief agency in Zhejiang, which neighbors Fujian, said 574,000 people had been evacuated by Sunday evening and 35,800 vessels returned to shore. Fujian`s government said 177,000 people had been moved to safety and nearly 30,000 fishing boats called back.

The typhoon cut power in towns and counties in Zhejiang while high-speed rail services in the region were suspended. At least 27 flights out of Wenzhou airport in Zhejiang were canceled on Sunday, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Xinhua said two people were killed in Wenzhou, including a 55-year-old man who was blown off a hill while heading out to help rescue a stranded fisherman. It said another three people were electrocuted in the Zhejiang city of Rui`an.

Four other people were reported missing in the province, Xinhua said. Calls to the city`s flood relief agency and other government and Communist Party offices rang unanswered Monday.

Economic losses in the two provinces were estimated at about $2 billion, Xinhua said.

Before striking China, Fitow skirted the northern coast of Taiwan, causing many flight disruptions and dumping large quantities of rain on the island, but resulting in only minimal damage and no casualties.

Officials said more than 200 domestic and international flights were delayed or canceled, and several hundred people were evacuated from northern Taiwanese communities considered vulnerable to rain-induced mudslides.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Story Image: A woman holds her umbrella as rain and wind from Typhoon Fitow approached Taipei Sunday. (Chiang Ying-ying, AP)

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