Typhoon Khanun to hit southern China Monday as Hong Kong eases warning

BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Typhoon Khanun is likely to hit southern China early on Monday with winds of up to 114 kph (70 mph), China’s meteorological agency said, as authorities in Hong Kong eased weather warnings and transport slowly returned to normal in the financial hub.

The typhoon is expected to make landfall between Zhanjiang, in Guangdong province, and Wenchang, in Hainan province, the official Xinhua News Agency cited the National Meteorological Centre as saying.

The agency has issued an orange alert, the second highest in China’s four-tier, color-coded alert system for severe weather.

From Sunday to Monday, parts of Zhejiang, Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan provinces will be drenched in heavy rain, Xinhua warned. In some areas, precipitation is expected to be up to 200 millimetres (7.8 inches), it said.

In Hong Kong, the weather observatory lowered the city’s weather warning to the second lowest level and ferry services slowly resumed to nearby islands, with Macau trips slated to return as of 9 p.m., according to the transportation department and ferry companies.

Most flights at Hong Kong’s international airport were set to depart on time or with minor delays for the remainder of Sunday, according to the airport’s flight information system.

The storm comes about two months after Typhoon Hato, a maximum category 10 storm, caused havoc in Hong Kong and deaths in nearby Macau, with extensive flooding and disruption to transport.

Xinhua said in Hainan, high-speed train services were suspended from early Sunday, while ferries on the Qiongzhou Strait, which connects the island province with Guangdong on the mainland, were suspended on Saturday, Xinhua said.

Reporting by Elzio Barreto in Hong Kong, and Cheng Fang and Norihiko Shirouzu in Beijing; Editing by Janet Lawrence