Flights cancelled as Shanghai braces for a powerful typhoon

All flights to Shanghai’s two international airports have been cancelled as the city braces itself for the onslaught of a violent typhoon.

Typhoon Muifa has made landfall in China, hitting the city of Zhoushan, south-east of Shanghai.

It is the 12th cyclone to hit mainland China this year, and authorities expect it to be the most powerful so far.

Dozens of flights had already been postponed as coastal areas battened down in anticipation of the storm.

China’s state weather forecaster said Muifa arrived as a strong typhoon at 20:30 local time (12:30 GMT), powerful enough in theory to topple trees, damage homes and bring down power lines.

The typhoon is expected to travel across the water of the Hangzhou Bay and make a second landfall at around midnight (16:00 GMT) near Shanghai, China’s biggest city and the country’s financial hub.

Waves up to five metres high (16 feet) are expected near the city of some 25 million.

State TV has also warned that “extraordinarily heavy rain is expected” overnight across the densely populated eastern seaboard.

Temporary evacuation centres have been set up in some areas of Shanghai.

Meanwhile, in Ningbo, a city to the south of Shanghai, schools has been closed and a red alert – China’s highest weather warning has been issued.

“Relevant areas should pay attention to the prevention of flash floods and geological disasters that may be caused by heavy rainfall,” China’s weather agency said.

Nearly 7,400 commercial vessels have sought shelter in Zhejiang province’s ports after authorities ordered them to return home before the storm.

Elsewhere, about 13,000 people staying on islands and tourist sites nearby have been evacuated, State TV reported.

The typhoon is expected to move across China and could affect as many as 12 of China’s 31 provinces in the coming days.

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