China hit by first Typhoon Chaba of the year, record rain forecast | weather report

Forecasters warn of record rainfall and high disaster risk in provinces like Guangdong, the country’s most populous.

China’s first typhoon of the year has brought storms and rain to its southern coast as forecasters warn of record rainfall and a high risk of disasters in provinces like Guangdong, the country’s most populous.

Typhoon Chaba, the Thai name for the hibiscus flower, was moving northwest at 15 to 20 km (10 to 15 miles) per hour after the storm’s eye made landfall in the Guangdong city of Maoming on Saturday afternoon, the National Meteorological said Center in a statement.

Though Chaba is of moderate intensity and expected to lose strength over time, it is likely to bring extremely heavy rains and break the record for cumulative rainfall as it pulls the region’s monsoon rain belt inland, said Gao Shuanzhu, the chief forecaster of the center.

“The abundant monsoon water vapor will lead to intense downpours and huge cumulative rainfall of extreme nature,” Gao said, forecasting up to 600 mm (24 inches) of cumulative rainfall in some areas.

At risk are western Guangdong, where China’s typhoons usually linger, eastern Guangxi Autonomous Region and the island province of Hainan, where rainstorms have caused landslides, urban waterlogging and flooding, Gao said.

Hainan raised its emergency measures to Level II, the second-highest, on Saturday. It suspended rail services across the island and canceled more than 400 flights to and from the cities of Haikou and Sanya.

In Macau, one person was injured by wind and rain as he approached Chaba, state television reported.

In recent weeks, historic rains and floods in southern China have destroyed property, paralyzed traffic and disrupted the daily lives of millions in one of the country’s most populous and economically important regions.

Extreme weather, including unusually severe flooding, is expected to continue through August in China, meteorologists forecast this week, with climate change being partly blamed.

Dozens missing in Hong Kong

More than two dozen crew members are missing after a machine vessel with 30 people on board broke in two in the South China Sea on Saturday, officials said.

Three crew members were rescued as the search continued for the missing crew members about 300 km (200 miles) southwest of Hong Kong.

A ship after it broke in two during a rescue operation by crew members in the South China Sea amid Typhoon Chaba.
The machine ship with 30 people on board broke in two during a typhoon in the South China Sea [Handout/Government Flying Service/AFP]

The three survivors were found at 15:00 local time (07:00 GMT) and taken to hospital for treatment, the Hong Kong Government Flying Service said.

Dramatic footage provided by Hong Kong authorities showed a person being flown into a helicopter as waves smashed the deck of the half-submerged ship below.

Other crew members may have been swept away by waves before the first helicopter arrived, according to a government statement.

Hong Kong authorities issued the typhoon warning on Thursday as Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in the city to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his handover from Britain to China.

Rescue workers in Hong Kong were briefed on the incident at 7:25 a.m. local time (23:25 GMT on Friday) and found the vessel near central Chaba, where harsh weather conditions and nearby wind farms made the operation “more difficult and dangerous”.

The ship’s location recorded winds of 144 km/h (90 mph) and waves that were 10 meters (33 ft), authorities said.

The State Air Service dispatched two fixed-wing aircraft missions and four helicopter missions, with mainland China authorities also dispatching a rescue boat.

Rescuers said they would increase the search area “due to the large number of missing persons” and extend the operation into the night if conditions permitted.