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August 7, 2009

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High alert as typhoon path tracks toward city

SHANGHAI emergency authorities were busy yesterday getting ready for the arrival of the year's first typhoon.
Typhoon Morakot was expected to begin pelting the city tomorrow with heavy rain and high winds.

Ships were put on alert, river watchers were manning floodgates, and Metro officials were preparing to reduce the speed of above-ground trains to keep passengers safe from the storm. Winds from Morakot - the Thai word for "turquoise" - were expected to gust up to 74 kilometers per hour in the downtown and 117kph in coastal areas. Rain was forecast for the next few days with temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius.

The Shanghai Flood Control Headquarters warned that the storm's impact could be aggravated by the fact that the typhoon's arrival will coincide with a flood tide.

Chongming County, Jinshan District, Fengxian District, Pudong's Nanhui area, the Yangshang Deep-Water Port and the Donghai Bridge will be among the hardest-hit spots.

Oil rigs on the East China Sea will be shut down, and all ships operating off the coast have been encouraged to head for port.

Floodgates along all city rivers and creeks will be required to shut to prevent an incoming surge.
The water authority will check the drainage system around the clock to keep drains clear.

"All the pumps will be switched to top gear when the storm comes," said Ma Yuandong of the Shanghai water affairs bureau.

The Metro authority said it is planning to slow operations on elevated lines from 70 to 40 kilometers per hour if the winds threaten operations.

Electric trollies on 15 routes will be replaced with 256 buses in case of power outages, the Shanghai Communication, Transport and Port Bureau said. And Shanghai Wusong Entry and Exit Administration Police said they will speed up processing of international ships.


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