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September 14, 2021

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Typhoon grounds flights amid heavy rains, winds

Hundreds of flights were grounded and tens of thousands of residents evacuated in Shanghai yesterday as Typhoon Chanthu brought strong winds and rain to the east China metropolis.

More than 100,000 people have been evacuated from Shanghai’s coastal areas which bore the brunt of the storm.

In the Pudong New Area, more than 92,000 people had moved to 320 temporary shelters, and in suburban Jinshan District, nearly 17,000 people were in 232 temporary shelters as of 12pm yesterday, officials said.

Pudong’s waterfront areas along the Huangpu River have been cordoned off, and retailers have closed their doors. Jinshan has shut its city beach, railway services and all public cultural venues.

The two regions have readied themselves for the typhoon by preparing high-power pumping vehicles, mobile water pumps, suction pumps and sandbags. Emergency experts are ready to respond to any difficulties.

Chanthu, this year’s 14th typhoon, is expected to whirl over the sea, about 100-200 kilometers east of Shanghai, from last night to tomorrow, and will move northeast from Thursday toward South Korea and Japan, the local weather bureau said in an update.

Chanthu’s eye was about 128km from Shanghai at 3pm yesterday, moving northwest at a speed of 10km per hour as it nears the city, the bureau said.

Although Chanthu had been downgraded from a super typhoon to a strong typhoon on Sunday evening, Shanghai officials maintained an orange typhoon alert — the second-highest warning level — and urged residents to “stop outdoor activities and large-scale meetings.”

The heavy rains and strong winds brought by Chanthu are forecast to stay in the city until Thursday.

Shanghai Mayor Gong Zheng held a video conference yesterday morning, asking all relevant departments to make every effort to defend against the effects of the typhoon so as to ensure the safety of residents and the city.

The city government has ordered all elementary and middle school students to stay home from yesterday afternoon to today, while more than 120 tourist attractions, including Shanghai Disney Resort, the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Astronomy Museum, are temporarily closed for two days.

Most flights out of Shanghai’s Pudong and Hongqiao airports were canceled by yesterday afternoon, according to flight tracking service Flightradar24. The Shanghai Airport Authority has said some 80 percent of passenger flights were canceled yesterday.

As of 10:20am yesterday, 20 China Eastern flights had taken off from Pudong airport while four flights had landed safely. Hongqiao airport had handled 59 of China Eastern’s departing flights as well as 16 arriving flights.

Port terminals in the region suspended container import and export services yesterday until further notice.

The Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration, meanwhile, has organized for a total of 994 ships to be evacuated, with 1,655 ships at anchor.

As of 2pm, Metro lines 5 and 16, the Pujiang Line and the maglev were out of service along with Line 2 between Tangzhen and Pudong International Airport stations, while trains ran at lower speeds at all parts of the Metro system that are exposed to open air.

Most of the affected lines are located in Pudong, with some passing through densely populated zones.

The Pudong public transportation authority said it had prepared 10 buses to shuttle Metro passengers from Heshahangcheng Station on Line 16 to Shenmei Road Station on Line 18 from 6:30am.

Also, 150 long-distance buses departing from Shanghai and passing through neighboring Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces were suspended.

All ferries crossing the Huangpu River were out of service yesterday, and the Fuxing Road Tunnel under the river was closed to motor vehicles to enable bikers and e-bikers to cross the river.

Some elevated roads were more congested than usual yesterday morning and the number of traffic accidents reported between 7am and 9am was up 29 percent from the previous Monday, traffic police said. No injuries were reported.

Shanghai’s electric power sector, greenery and public sanitation bureau and civil defense office are also on high alert in advance of the storm.


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