Typhoon Rumbia sweeps into East China

Weather observatory warning of higher levels of rainfall and risks of flooding

Chinese meteorologists renewed a typhoon yellow alert, the second-lowest of a four-tier warning system, on Thursday as Typhoon Rumbia approached East China and is expected to pack winds of up to 100 kilometers per hour near its eye, according to the national observatory.

Rumbia was expected to land sometime between Thursday night and Friday morning between Xiangshan, Zhejiang province, and Shanghai. It will be the fourth typhoon to land in the Yangtze River Delta this year, the National Meteorological Center said.

It will bring heavy winds, rain and flooding in at least six provincial regions, including Jiangsu, Anhui and Hubei provinces. Some areas in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shanghai were expected to receive rainfall of up to 18 centimeters from 2 pm Thursday to 2 pm Friday, it said.

Rumbia formed near the country’s coastline and will take no more than two days to land, much faster than most others. Its unbalanced structure means the precipitation it brings will be scattered, said Qian Qifeng, a typhoon expert at the center.

The National Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters has warned of the increasing risks of flooding as Rumbia rolls in, combining its effect with the ongoing Tropical Storm Yagi and Typhoon Bebinca, which hit land on Wednesday night.

Yagi landed in Zhejiang on Sunday, resulting in a downpour that raised waters in nine small and medium-sized rivers in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Liaoning provinces above their warning levels on Thursday.

Typhoon Bebinca left three dead and two missing and forced the evacuation of about 126,000 people in Hainan and Guangdong provinces as of Thursday. It also resulted in direct economic losses of 1.6 billion yuan ($232 million), the headquarters said.

Bebinca resulted in floods in 23 small and medium-sized rivers in Guangdong and Hainan provinces. Water levels in these bodies were raised up to 3.7 meters above their warning levels, it said.

It also said Rumbia is expected to bring precipitation of up to 40 centimeters in some areas in Zhejiang, Anhui, Hubei and Henan provinces, as well as in Shanghai. It may encounter the cold air from the north on Saturday, which will result in downpours in the middle and upper reaches of the Haihe River.

The headquarters has dispatched three teams to facilitate flood control work in affected areas.

“So far this year, 18 typhoons have been generated in the northwestern Pacific Ocean and South China Sea, and seven of them have landed in China. The number of typhoons, and the ones landing in the country, are above the yearly average,” the headquarters said on Thursday.

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