Beijing evacuates thousands as Doksuri pummels northern China | Weather News


Authorities in the capital suspend sports events, shut several tourist spots and parks as weakened typhoon makes landfall.

Rain has soaked northern China as Typhoon Doksuri, one of the strongest storms to hit the country in years, forced authorities to evacuate thousands in Beijing after pummelling the Philippines and Taiwan, and lashing China’s coast.

A broad area encompassing the capital faces a medium to high risk of rainstorm disasters over the coming three days, China’s national forecaster said. Thunderstorms in the capital were forecast to peak on Saturday.

As the storm rolls inland, cumulative rainfall of 100mm (4 inches) or more was forecast over 220,000 square kilometres (85,000 square miles), potentially affecting 130 million people.

“Doksuri’s intensity continues to weaken but the impact is far from over,” the China Meteorological Administration said, warning the public to be vigilant and avoid high-risk areas in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei regions where localised rainfall could reach 600mm (two feet).

An aerial view shows flooding in Fuzhou after Typhoon Doksuri made landfall and brought heavy rainfall, in Fujian province, China
An aerial view shows flooding in Fuzhou after Typhoon Doksuri made landfall and brought heavy rainfall, in Fujian province, China [cnsphoto/China Out via Reuters]

Over the weekend, small and medium-sized rivers in southern Beijing, central and western areas of Hebei, eastern Shanxi and northern Henan could swell above warning levels, while flash floods and geological hazards could occur around mountainous areas.

Beijing authorities suspended sports events, while a number of tourist spots and parks were shut. The city’s flood control department said it has mobilised 203,230 rescue personnel and 3,031 people had been evacuated, local media reported.

Doksuri is the most powerful typhoon to hit China this year and the second strongest to hit the southeastern province of Fujian since Typhoon Meranti in 2016.

Storm weakens

Moving northwest and deeper inland, the storm weakened into a tropical depression in Anhui province early on Saturday at winds of 30km/h (20 miles per hour), but as its wind speeds continued to ease off, Doksuri’s centre became harder to determine.

The central province of Henan and Shandong in the east will experience heavy rainfall, the forecaster said, warning of mountain torrents, geological disasters and water logging.

Doksuri made landfall on Friday, downing power lines and uprooting trees, affecting around 880,000 people in coastal Fujian with more than 354,400 people evacuated and resettled, and causing over 478 million yuan ($67m) in direct economic losses, state media reported.

In Doksuri’s wake, social media posts showed emergency workers clearing fallen trees and landslides, and people wading in thigh-high floodwaters.

Other damage reported around Fujian province included a billboard ripped off a hotel building by winds in Putian city, a large tree falling over a man who was later rescued and a garment factory in port city Quanzhou catching fire.

By later in the day, cities were beginning to recover.

Fuzhou, which suspended metro services on Saturday morning due to waterlogged subway stations, resumed operations in the afternoon. The city, along with neighbouring cities Putian and Xianyou, reported the heaviest daily precipitation since 1961.

Earlier in the week, the storm grazed past Taiwan’s main island after hitting the Philippines’ main island of Luzon, where it produced landslides, flooding and downed trees. The storm displaced thousands and caused 41 deaths – including 27 killed in the capsizing of a passenger ship.

About 20 other people remained missing, including four coastguard personnel whose boat overturned while on a rescue mission in hard-hit Cagayan province, officials said on Saturday, adding that they were monitoring another approaching storm.

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