July 11, 2015 / 4:51 AM / 4 years ago

Typhoon lashes China after more than a million people evacuated

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - One of the most powerful typhoons to strike eastern China in decades disrupted air, rail and sea transport on Saturday after forcing the evacuation of more than a million people from the provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu, state media reported.

Typhoon Chan-Hom was packing winds of 162 kph (101 mph) as it hit the city of Zhoushan, slowing from an earlier speed of 173 kph (108 mph).

It could be the most powerful July typhoon to hit Zhejiang since the Communist Party took power in 1949, the National Meteorological Center said.

No casualties have been reported yet, Xinhua said.

In Shanghai, the commercial capital, all flights out of Pudong International Airport and Hongqiao Airport were canceled because of the typhoon, state broadcaster CCTV said.

Authorities in Zhejiang said the province may face 1.95 billion yuan ($314 million) in economic losses, with agriculture the worst affected, sustaining 1.44 billion yuan in losses, Xinhua said.

The typhoon brought heavy rain to Shanghai as well as the provinces of Anhui and Fujian, besides Jiangsu and Zhejiang, the weather service said.

Slideshow (4 Images)

Apart from the closure of schools and the suspension of flights and trains, more than 51,000 ships had returned to port, Xinhua said, citing local authorities.

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

Earlier this week, typhoon Linfa moved slowly across the north of the Southeast Asian archipelago and up to China’s southern province of Guangdong.

Reporting by Sue-Lin Wong and the Shanghai newsroom; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Robin Pomeroy

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