Typhoon Rumbia makes landfall in southern Pudong
Typhoon Rumbia, the 18th this year, made landfall around 4:05am on Friday in Pudong New Area, Shanghai, bringing torrential rains and packing strong winds of up to 23 meters per second, or 82.8 km per hour, at its eye, according to the National Meteorological Center.
The tropical storm is expected to gradually wane as it keeps moving northwest at a speed of 30 km per hour, the center said.
China's national weather observatory on Friday morning issued a blue alert for typhoon Rumbia. China has a four-tier, color-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe, followed by orange, yellow, and blue.
While maintaining the blue alert for typhoon Rumbia, Shanghai weather service upgraded the city's downpour warning to orange. By Friday morning, altogether 2,525 vessels had returned to port and 3,209 crew members had gone ashore. And 53,000 people had been evacuated in Shanghai. Bringing gales and downpours, Rumbia had flattened 2,835 trees in the city, flooded almost 1 square kilometer and damaged 66 power circuits, the city's flood control and drought relief headquarters said.
According to the city's traffic authority, all ferries shuttling on the Huangpu River were suspended as of 11am.
Typhoon Rumbia, the 3rd of the typhoons that had made landfall in Shanghai this month, will bring strong winds and heavy rains to the city from Friday to Saturday, the headquarters forecast.
Local officials have been ordered to take precautions against falling objects so as to avoid a repeat of a recent tragedy when a collapsed signboard killed three pedestrians in downtown.
Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong urged local authorities on Wednesday to pay special attention to such falling objects.
On Sunday night, with Typhoon Yagi approaching, a signboard of a shop close to the Bund and the Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall suddenly came crashing down, hitting nine passers-by. Three of them died of severe injuries.
Investigation showed the two men in charge of the shop failed to carry out inspections though they were told to do so.
And as Rumbia approached, the Shanghai Greenery and Sanitation Administration Bureau organized up to 25,000 inspections of outdoor hanging objects, including shop signboards, advertisement billboards, external air-conditioning units, curtain wall glass and lamp boxes.
A total of 1,383 outdoor advertisement boards were dismantled and another 360 were reinforced, the bureau said.
In total, 5,733 shop signboards were dismantled and 4,720 strengthened.
Businesses and companies were told that they would have to take legal responsibility for failing to conduct self-checks and rectification of such boards.
In addition, 130 parks across the city will stay closed today, the bureau revealed, adding that its staff had reinforced more than 5,000 trees and cleared about 67,000 garbage bins.
Elsewhere, amid the wet weather, more than 200 flights were canceled at Pudong and Hongqiao international airports.
A total of 203 flights had been canceled at Pudong Airport as of 5pm, while another 53 were grounded at Hongqiao Airport, the Shanghai Airport Authority revealed.
Despite the cancellations, weather conditions in general around both airports were mild with scanty rainfall during the day, allowing more than 600 flights to take off from both airports, with 500-plus flights landing.
The air traffic controller issued the second-level orange alert for flight delays for both airports and said their takeoff and landing capacity has been reduced by half until this morning.
The flight cancellations and delays are expected to continue this morning because some flights were stranded at both airports overnight. The local Spring Airlines announced that its flight from Shijiazhuang in north China’s Hebei Province to Pudong Airport today has been canceled.
Railway authorities said more than 30 trains departing from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station were suspended. Most of the suspended trains run along the eastern coastal region.
The Jinshan-Shanghai Railway will also stop operation from 6am to 11:30am today.
According to the city’s traffic authority, all ferry shuttles between Shanghai and its suburban Chongming Island had been suspended by 3pm yesterday.
By 4pm, expressways around the city had ordered all vehicles to limit their speed to under 80kph.
On the S32 Expressway and the Yangtze River Bridge, the speed limit was 50kph.
The Shanghai Housing and Urban-rural Development Commission, meanwhile, said it has been preparing drainage equipment for 974 critical spots in 556 residential communities across the city that are more likely to be flooded in rainstorms.