China evacuates millions as typhoon Lekima makes landfall

The third-largest typhoon on record struck China's eastern coast early Saturday morning, killing 13 people and forcing the evacuation of over a million people, state media reported.

Typhoon Lekima made landfall in the eastern province of Zhejiang with maximum winds of 187 kilometers per hour (116 miles per hour).

It was moving northwards at a speed of 15 kph and gradually weakening, Xinhau News Agency reported, citing China's weather bureau.

The bureau lowered a red alert, the highest level weather alert, which they had issued Friday ahead of the storm's landing, to orange on Saturday as the storm began to weaken, downgrading it from its prior classification as "super" typhoon.

Deadly landslide triggered

However, the storm still managed to cause significant disruption and damage.

A landslide triggered by the typhoon killed at least 13 people and left 16 missing, state TV reported. The landslide took place in the municipality of Wenzhou, in Zhejiang province, when a natural dam broke.

Read more: Chinese landslide kills 15, 30 still missing

Ahead of landfall, over a million people were evacuated from their homes in eastern coastal areas, state media reported, and over 2 million households in Zhejiang experienced blackouts due to strong winds and rain cutting electricity lines.

Some train service between Zheijiang and northern China was also disrupted, and hundreds of flights at various airports were reportedly canceled.

Typhoon Lekima also forced the closure of Shanghai Disneyland.

The storm is predicted to continue weakening as it moves northwards, reaching Jiangsu province by the early hours of Sunday morning and continuing out into the Yellow Sea, before reaching Shangdong province, state TV broadcaster CCTV reported.

Prior to reaching China, the storm had forced flight cancelations and business closures on the island of Taiwan.

cmb/amp (AP, Reuters)

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