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South braces for a super typhoon
Date: 2010/10/21 Click: 1597
Fishermen secure their boats at a port in Qionghai, Hainan province, on Tuesday.
China's southern provinces - Hainan, Guangdong and Fujian - are preparing relief measures to deal with typhoon Megi, which may be the strongest storm to hit the South this year, as it inches its way toward the coast.

Megi, which entered the South China Sea late Monday night, had intensified itself into a super typhoon by 8 am Tuesday.

The storm was 950 kilometers southeast of Guangdong's Maoming city, at 2 pm on Tuesday, according to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA).

There have been winds of 187 km per hour near the eye of the storm as it heads northwest at a speed of 10-15 km per hour. It will increase in intensity, according to the report.

Although it's still too early to say exactly where or when Megi will make landfall, authorities have said that central and western parts of Guangdong are vulnerable, Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

The State Oceanic Administration estimated 5- to 7-meter-high waves near Guangdong over the next 48 to 72 hours.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs and the State Disaster Relief Commission on Monday issued a national early disaster warning to prepare for it, urging civil affairs departments in Hainan, Guangdong, Fujian, and Guangxi to check their rescue and relief operations.

The Hainan government has ordered province-wide precautionary steps against possible disasters and is seeing to it that people in vulnerable areas are evacuated ahead of time.

About 2,500 fishing boasts in Haikou, the capital, returned to harbor on Tuesday and the city of Sanya is taking down billboards along streets to remove a potential threat to people and vehicles when the big wind hits.

Fearing the possible disruption of daily life and possible price hikes, Haikou residents started stocking up on goods on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in Fujian, the flood control headquarters on Monday stopped fishing vessels from heading out to sea.

Chen Lingshan, a 21-year-old Xiamen resident, said she was "already used to typhoons", adding, however, that when she recalls the deadly storm, Fanapi, which left more than 100 people dead or missing in September, she gets a bit scared.

In Guangdong, authorities have ordered all fishing boats to return to harbor before midnight Tuesday and reservoirs and hydroelectric stations have been put on alert.

Megi is the 13th typhoon this year and is bringing winds of up to 260 km per hour, making it the strongest typhoon to have appeared in the northwest Pacific Ocean since 1990 and the strongest globally for the year, according to the CMA.
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