Chinese fishing boats have returned to port in preparation for Super Typhoon Lekima. Photo: AFP

China has issued a red alert for incoming Super Typhoon Lekima which is expected to batter eastern Zhejiang province on early Saturday with strong winds and torrential rainfall.

The ninth typhoon of the year is projected to move northwest up China’s coast later in the day with the China Meteorological Administration, or CMA, focusing its attention on Shanghai and Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangsu and Shandong provinces.

Lekima’s center was about 290 kilometers, or 180 miles, southeast of the city of Wenling in Zhejiang Friday morning, with winds reaching 209 km per hour, official news agency Xinhua reported.

Authorities were pre-emptively canceling Saturday train services in Zhejiang, Shanghai and elsewhere, according to the CMA’s newspaper. They also issued a yellow alert for torrential rain and flooding for provinces in Lekima’s path.

Some airlines have canceled flights out of Shanghai as a precaution.

The “great evacuation” from the sea was well underway, with ships returning to port and moving to safe areas, the newspaper added.

The storm was sweeping past the northern tip of Taiwan on Friday, where nine people were injured, some trees were downed and some 73,000 homes lost power temporarily.

Taiwan authorities also said about 518 flights were canceled on Friday due to heavy rains. Rail services were also suspended in some places on the island.

Last September, Typhoon Mangkhut slammed into mainland China where authorities evacuated 2.37 million people after it left a trail of destruction in Hong Kong and Macau and killed at least 59 people in the northern Philippines.

– AFP

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