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Typhoon Lekima makes landfall in south China
3/10/2007 11:09

Typhoon Lekima made landfall late yesterday in south China's island province of Hainan, and weakened into severe tropical storm, local meteorological observatory said.

Lekima landed at Jinmujiao near Sanya city in the southeast of the island at 11 p.m. Tuesday, packing winds of up to 118.8 km per hour, said the Hainan Meteorological Observatory.

Lekima, named after a fruit in Vietnam, is moving west-northwest and is expected to enter the Beibu Bay area early Wednesday.

Around 100,000 people in Hainan were evacuated ahead of the arrival of Lekima. More than 20,000 fishing boats were recalled to harbor.

Sluice gates at 17 reservoirs in the province were opened to divert possible flood water, according to the Hainan Provincial Headquarters of Flood, Typhoon and Drought Control.

The tropical storm has already caused a sharp drop of the number of individual tourists and cancellations of hotel bookings, a heavy blow dealt to local tourism in Hainan which should have been flourishing during the weeklong National Day holiday.

"Compared with previous National Day golden weeks, this year's holiday was rather 'bleak'(in terms of tourism)," said Feng Yu, a business manager of Hainan Tourist Corporation, helplessly looking at pages of lists of tourist names who could not arrive as scheduled.

Heavy downpours with strong gales were forecast to hit most of Hainan, the coastal areas of Guangxi and Guangdong Tuesday night through Wednesday.

Six flights were canceled Tuesday morning due to bad weather at the Meilan International Airport located at the provincial capital of Haikou, but the other 143 flights were not affected, a spokesman with the airport told Xinhua.

Lekima, the 15th one this year, killed at least eight people in northern Philippines, triggering landslides, floods and big waves.

In another development, Krosa, the 16th tropical storm which formed Tuesday morning on the Pacific Ocean east of the Philippines, strengthened into severe tropical storm in the afternoon.

The eye of Krosa was located at 16.9 degrees north latitude and131.3 degrees east longitude, about 1,270 km southeast of Hualien city of Taiwan Province, packing maximum winds of 90 km per hour.

Krosa's eye will remain whirling at its current place and then move northwest and continue to gain momentum, according to the Central Meteorological Observatory. It will not affect offshore areas of China over the next two days.