China And Taiwan Hit By Typhoon Wipha

China's biggest city, Shanghai, closed schools and evacuated 200,000 people on Tuesday as it braced itself for the expected arrival of Typhoon Wipha, forecast to be the most powerful storm to hit the city in a decade.

One worker was killed and another seriously injured as the fringe of the typhoon lashed Taiwan, knocking down scaffolding at a highway construction site in the capital Taipei, Taiwan's Disaster Relief Center reported.

Schools, offices and the stock market in northern Taiwan were closed and flights from Taiwan to Japan, South Korea and a few other Asian countries were canceled, officials said.

City authorities ordered schools closed on Wednesday in Shanghai, a city of more than 20 million and China's financial hub.

Chinese state-run television showed families being evacuated from their fishing boats and other vessels.

Shopkeepers stacked sand bags to prevent flooding as drains clogged amid torrential rains.

The storm forced the cancellation of many flights out of Shanghai and other regional airports, state media reports said.

The typhoon, whipping up waves up to 10 meters (36 feet) high, was moving northwest towards the Chinese mainland.

In Japan's Okinawa Prefecture, the typhoon recorded a maximum wind velocity of 237.24 kilometers (17 miles) per hour, according to the Japan's Meteorological Agency.

Weather reports forecast it would make landfall south of Shanghai early on Wednesday morning.

Wipha, a woman's name in Thai, was upgraded from a tropical storm on Monday.

With wind gusts of up to 290 kilometers per hour (180 miles per hour), local meteorological officials said it could be the most destructive storm to hit the Shanghai area in years.

Shanghai and the coastal provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian to the south issued typhoon warnings requiring all vessels to return to shore or change course to avoid the storm, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Some 200,000 people living in coastal or low-lying rural areas of Shanghai were being evacuated, as were parts of Zhejiang, Xinhua said.

It said nearly 30,000 fishing boats in the province had taken shelter in port by late Monday and ferry service with outlying islands had been suspended.

The deadliest storm to hit the China coast in recent years was Typhoon Winnie in 1997, which killed 236 people.

Typhoon Rananim, with winds of more than 160 kph (100 mph), was the strongest typhoon to hit the Chinese mainland since 1956, killing nearly 200 people.

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