China downgrades typhoon to tropical storm

Last Updated: Monday, August 8, 2011 - 12:13

Beijing: China on Monday downgraded the typhoon threatening its coast to a severe tropical storm, but warned Muifa would still bring strong winds and rain.

Tens of thousands of people living along China`s east coast were evacuated over the weekend as Typhoon Muifa approached, amid fears it would hit the country`s densely populated commercial capital Shanghai.

Chinese airlines cancelled hundreds of flights and thousands of fishing boats were ordered to stay in port.

But the city was spared a direct hit, suffering only some power outages and minor damage as the storm passed by.

On Monday, the national meteorological centre said it had downgraded Muifa to a severe tropical storm and now expected it to make landfall in the northeastern province of Liaoning on Monday evening.

The official Xinhua news agency said Muifa had destroyed nearly 170 houses and caused CNY 1.9 billion (USD 290 million) of damage in the eastern province of Zhejiang, where at least one person was missing after a boat sank.

Authorities had expressed concern that Muifa may wreak havoc similar to the destruction unleashed by Typhoon Saomai in 2006 -- the worst to hit China in 50 years -- which killed at least 450 people.

On Sunday, Muifa downed trees and electricity poles in South Korea, leaving thousands of homes without power and forcing the cancellation of some flights, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Bureau Report



First Published: Monday, August 8, 2011 - 12:13

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