Beijing: China on Wednesday issued the highest "red alert" and cancelled hundreds of flights and trains as it braced for violent gales and heavy rains accompanying Typhoon Meranti, which is expected to hit its southern coast.
The National Marine Environmental Forecasting Centre (NMEFC) issued the alert as gales and waves up to 12-metres high were observed off the eastern coast of Taiwan, where the typhoon didn't make landfall.
Meranti - the strongest typhon to hit China in years - was likely to hit the coast of Fujian, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces. It comes just over two months after the deadly typhoon Nepartak cut power and grounded flights across China.
It is the 14th typhoon to hit the Chinese coast this year.
The typhoon is likely to make landfall in Fujian and Guangdong tomorrow and the State Oceanic Administration has initiated a class-II emergency response, the second-highest level.
Ships have been ordered to return to harbor and residents to stay indoors, NMEFC said. It also been advised that dams should be reinforced, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Li Mei, a meteorologist in eastern China's Fujian, said that Meranti is among the strongest typhoon to hit China in recent years.
Schools and kindergartens in coastal cities of Fuzhou, Xiamen, Zhangzhou, Quanzhou and Putian were closed today.
"The typhoon will bring gales and heavy rains when it makes landfall," Li said. "Parents are advised to keep the children indoors and stay away from unsafe houses and advertising boards."
Passenger liners on eight routes between Fujian and Taiwan were canceled, as were at least 175 flights in and out of Fujian.
According to Chen Jianping, an official with Guangzhou Railway Group, services of many passenger trains have been stopped.
More than 4,000 workers are patrolling railways to monitor potential risks, Chen said.
Under China's four-tier severe weather warning system, red is the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue.