October 7, 2007 / 4:05 AM / 12 years ago

Typhoon hits China, then weakens to storm

BEIJING (Reuters) - Typhoon Krosa crashed into the Chinese coast on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of 1.4 million people, after killing five in Taiwan as it lashed the island with heavy rain and high winds.

Waves are seen as Typhoon Krosa hits Taiwan in the eastern county of Hualian October 6, 2007. REUTERS/Stringer

The typhoon made landfall near the borders of densely populated Zhejiang and Fujian provinces in southeast China around 0730 GMT, packing winds of up to 126 km per hour (78 kph), before weakening.

No casualties were reported and the local flood prevention authorities later downgraded Krosa to a common tropical storm as it lost strength moving north at 20 km an hour, Xinhua news agency reported.

Tug boats were struggling in strong winds to rescue a Hong Kong-registered cargo ship, with 27 crew on board, that was caught in the storm some 30 km off the coast when its engines failed.

Xinhua said the Aladdin Dream, crewed by sailors from Russia, India and the Philippines, was in no danger of sinking or capsizing.

The authorities took no chances with Krosa, which means crane in Khmer.

Zhejiang province alone evacuated 962,000 people from the path of the storm, including half a million holiday-makers who had flocked to the seaside for China’s week-long National Day holiday ending on Sunday.

Schools, airports and motorways in some areas were closed, while 75,000 vessels were recalled to harbor. The storm dumped as much as 300 mm of rain in some places.

Krosa earlier wrought havoc in Taiwan as a category 4 typhoon.

A landslide killed two people in a mountainous area of the capital, Taipei, while isolated accidents caused by high winds killed another two. A traffic accident caused the fifth casualty, Taiwan’s National Fire Agency reported.

Driving rain flooded homes, blocked roads and downed trees across the island, cutting power to 2.2 million homes and businesses, the agency said.

Power was restored to most homes on Sunday but many flights were cancelled.

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

Additional reporting by Ralph Jennings in Taipei

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