July 17, 2010 / 3:05 AM / 7 years ago

Typhoon Conson heads for Vietnam, brushes China

By Lucy Hornby and Ho Binh Minh

BEIJING, July 17 (Reuters) - Falling billboards killed at least two people on China’s southern island of Hainan, as typhoon Conson passed over the island on its way toward northern Vietnam.

Strong winds and heavy rains partially cut power in Sanya, a resort city on the southern tip of Hainan, after the first typhoon to hit China this season hit on Friday evening.

A security guard was buried when a billboard toppled over near Sanya, and a motorcyclist died when he was clipped by another falling billboard, China’s Xinhua news agency said.

The storm is expected to come ashore in northern Vietnam’s scenic Halong Bay, near the industrial port of Haiphong, later on Saturday. The army is evacuating about 150,000 people in its path.

Fishing boats were called back to port from the South China Sea.

Several tours to Halong Bay and nearby coastal areas this weekend have been cancelled and boats have been called back to shore, the official Vietnam News Agency reported.

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines said at least four flights in and out of Haiphong will be cancelled on Saturday while a number of other flights may face delays.

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

Conson left at least 39 people dead in the Philippines.

The storm brought wind and rain to the Chinese coastal province of Guangdong, and forced shipping services and flights from Hainan to be halted since Thursday.

(Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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