Typhoon heads to China after pounding Taiwan

BEIJING/TAIPEI Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:46am EDT

A man struggles against the wind with his umbrella as Typhoon Jangmi hits Taipei September 28, 2008. REUTERS/Nicky Loh

A man struggles against the wind with his umbrella as Typhoon Jangmi hits Taipei September 28, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Nicky Loh

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BEIJING/TAIPEI (Reuters) - A powerful typhoon headed toward the eastern Chinese coast on Monday forcing over 200,000 people to seek higher ground, state media said, after it battered Taiwan over the weekend.

Typhoon Jangmi, the season's most powerful storm, was spinning off the coast of China's Fujian province and moving toward Zhejiang and Shanghai, with winds of up to 126 kph (78 mph), the Fujian Provincial Meteorological Bureau said.

More than 26,000 boats returned to harbor ahead of the storm, Xinhua said. Downpours were forecast in Fujian over the next two days.

The storm had weakened as it left Taiwan but the government advised workers and students around the island to stay home on Monday.

Stock and foreign exchange markets were closed.

Weather forecasting service Tropical Storm Risk (www.tropicalstormrisk.com) said Jangmi, a category 1 typhoon on a 1-5 scale, would weaken on Monday after passing over Taiwan as at category 4.

The storm is moving north, likely to brush the southeast China coast en route toward Japan, Tropical Storm Risk said.

Jangmi reached Taiwan on Sunday, dumping 1,124 mm (44 inches) of rain on some parts of the island and packing winds of up to 209 kph (130 mph).

On Sunday, a bus flipped in a coastal area, injuring 35 people, disaster authorities reported.

Taiwan was set to resume international flights after cancelling more than 150 domestic flights and some international flights.

In the Zhejiang city of Wenzhou, about 110 tourists were stranded at a small island, Xinhua said.

Typhoons regularly hit China, Taiwan, the Philippines and Japan from August until the end of the year, gathering strength from the warm waters of the Pacific of South China Sea before weakening over land.

(Reporting by Kirby Chien; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

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