Multiple localities in southern China enhanced emergency response systems on Monday, suspending trains, flights and ships, as well as businesses, work and school to prepare for tropical storm Talim which is set to make landfall on Monday evening.
China's National Meteorological Center (NMC) said Talim would bring about strong winds and heavy rainfall to the southern Chinese provinces of Hainan, Guangdong and Yunnan, as well as Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao.
Turbulent waves ranging from 6-9 meters are expected in the northern part of the South China Sea from Monday noon to Tuesday noon, while the coastal waters in the west of Guangdong will witness waves of 4-5.8 meters, and Guangxi and Hainan will experience waves of 2.5-4 meters, the Global Times learned from the Ministry of Natural Resources on Monday.
Storm surge alerts have been issued in multiple cities in Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan. Multiple rivers across the south of the country are expected to flood beyond the alert level, according to NMC.
Hainan issued a warning for potential mountain flooding across the entire island on Sunday evening, leading to the suspension of railway operations. Additionally, all Monday flights at Haikou Meilan International Airport and Qionghai Boao Airport have been canceled. As of 12 pm on Sunday, a total of 26,067 people have been evacuated onshore to avoid the typhoon while 16,293 ships have returned to port.
The city of Haikou in Hainan, situated within Talim's area of impact, announced the suspension of transportation, schools, manufacturing and businesses starting from Monday noon. The public is advised to reduce outdoor activities and prepare emergency shelters.
Many shipping lines, trains and flights have also been canceled across Guangxi and Guangdong as local authorities seek to ensure safety for tourists in island and coastal areas amid the height of the summer vacation season.
Some 18,800 visitors were evacuated on Sunday from Weizhou Island, located 21 nautical miles south of the city of Beihai in Guangxi, with all shipping services suspended from Tuesday to Wednesday. The city of Zhanjiang in Guangdong has closed all downtown tourist attractions and public gathering places. More than 20,000 tourists have returned to land from cruise ship tours in Guangdong's Jiangyang city.
Kindergartens, elementary and middle schools in Guangdong's Jiangyang and Zhanjiang, as well as in Macao have been temporarily suspended. Shenzhen said the whole city has entered a state of typhoon defense, asking schools and workplaces to get ready for suspension.
Affected by Talim, the Hong Kong stock exchange halted trading on Monday. Hong Kong's Disneyland Park and a majority of the city's bus routes were also suspended.
Experts said China's main flood season is typically "from late July to early August." During this period, there is an increase in tropical cyclone and typhoon activity, particularly in the South China Sea and Western Pacific regions, with a focus on the southern and southeastern coastal regions of the country.
Sun Shao, a senior researcher at Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, told the Global Times that China has made significant progress in enhancing its capabilities for typhoon and flood prevention in recent years. Besides updating technologies to timely and accurately monitor typhoon paths and intensities, China has established a robust emergency response mechanism with professional rescue teams, emergency supplies, and post-disaster reconstruction plans, Sun said.
As Talim is also set to hit northern Vietnam on Tuesday, including the popular tourist attraction of Ha Long Bay, as well as the border port between Chinese city Dongxing and Vietnam city Mong Cai, the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam on Monday advised Chinese nationals there to avoid traveling to mountainous areas prone to flash floods, mudslides and landslides, as well as dangerous zones near the sea and riversides.