Typhoon slams into southern China, one dead

BEIJING Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:17am EDT

People hold umbrellas as they walk against rain in Qionghai, Hainan province, July 18, 2014.REUTERS/China Daily

People hold umbrellas as they walk against rain in Qionghai, Hainan province, July 18, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/China Daily

BEIJING (Reuters) - A super typhoon slammed into China on Friday killing one person, as the government ordered an all-out effort to prevent loss of life from a storm that has already killed at least 64 people in the Philippines.

Typhoon Rammasun, with winds of up to 180 kph (112 mph), made landfall at Wenchang city on south China's island province of Hainan on Friday afternoon, the National Meteorological Center said on its website.

The typhoon, which is shaping up to be the strongest to hit Hainan in more than 40 years, will bring heavy rain throughout the weekend before moving southwest and weakening on Monday, the Xinhua state news agency said.

By mid-evening on Friday, the storm had made landfall in Guangdong province on the mainland. It is likely to hit the southwestern Guangxi region late on Friday.

Waves could reach up to 13 m. (43 feet) high in northern parts of the South China Sea and residents are being warned away from coastal areas, Xinhua said.

The Hainan government said it had ordered fishermen back to port while all airports, train stations and ports had been closed.

State media said access to all scenic spots on the island, which styles itself as China's answer to Hawaii, had been closed, and more than 70,000 people evacuated.

Premier Li Keqiang said people's lives must come first in the severe situation, the Hainan government said.

"Prevent any accidents that may be caused (by the typhoon) and reduce disaster losses as much as possible," it cited Li as saying.

Typhoons are common at this time of year in the South China Sea, picking up strength from the warm waters and dissipating over land.

Flooding across a large swathe of southern China in the past week has already killed at least 34 people.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard, Hui Li and Michael Martina; Additional reporting by Rosemarie Francisco in MANILA; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Robert Birsel)

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