June 21, 2009 / 5:28 PM / in 10 years

China's Xiamen port shut ahead of tropical storm Linfa

SHANGHAI, June 21 (Reuters) - Tropical storm Linfa plowed into southern China’s Fujian province on Sunday night, sending fishing boats scurrying to safety and closing the port of Xiamen.

Linfa was downgraded from a typhoon as it entered the Taiwan Strait. It is expected to sweep the coastal provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang, as well as northwestern Taiwan, before moving on to southern Japan.

The storm made land at 1230 GMT at Jinjiang city, near the industrial city of Quanzhou, the Xinhua news agency said.

The port of Xiamen in southeast China closed all operations on Sunday, but could reopen by Monday, depending upon the storm’s progress.

The shipping route between Xiamen and Jinmen, an island controlled by Taiwan, was closed temporarily from Saturday. The Provincial Oceanic and Fisheries Bureau recalled 30,000 fishing boats by 6 p.m. Sunday.

The local government sent more than 10 million text messages to mobile phone users, warning of the storm.

Typhoons regularly hit China, Taiwan, the Philippines and Japan in the second half of the year, gathering strength from the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean or South China Sea before weakening over land.

(Reporting by Lucy Hornby; editing by Michael Roddy)

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