Shandong on alert as Typhoon Lekima barrels down

By Xie Chuanjiao in Qingdao and Zhao Ruixue in Jinan | ( )| Updated : 2019-08-11

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Typhoon Lekima approaches Qingdao, East China's Shandong province, Aug 10, 2019. [Photo/VCG]

East China's Shandong province issued this year's first red alert for storm on Saturday evening, as the deadly Typhoon Lekima approached the province.

Torrential downpours caused by the typhoon swept most part of the province, with 61 gauging stations across the province showing over 100 millimeters of precipitation. One station in Linyi saw the highest 299.3 millimeters.

Shouguang, a coastal city administrated by Weifang, was severely hit by storms. The city is dubbed as China's town of vegetables.

An online video footage posted by Economic View showed that vegetable greenhouses were submerged in water on Sunday.

This happened one year after Shouguang was flooded by Typhoon Rumbia, the biggest deluge for more than 40 years, affecting more than 500,000 people in Shouguang and causing vegetable prices to rise.

A villager Zhang Yimin said he was helping his father-in-law guard their vegetable greenhouses, which were flooded last year.

According to him, it took them 20,000 yuan to maintain the soil and plant the eggplant seedlings for each greenhouse, which would be totally destroyed once the water floods in.

"With lessons learned from last year, the situation may not be as bad as the previous year. However, we are not sure whether greenhouses would be flooded as this year's rainfall is much heavier," he told China Daily on Sunday.

In order to reduce the potential losses of greenhouse farmers, the Shouguang government encouraged local farmers to buy insurances for their greenhouses and vegetables. Sixty-five percent of the insurance fees were subsidized by the government, according to provincial news outlets.

Shandong Party chief Liu Jiayi led a team heading to Shouguang and supervising flood prevention as well as rescue and relief work.

According to China Meteorological Administration, Typhoon Lekima is travelling north at a speed of 25-30 kilometers per hour and is expected to land in Rizhao or Yantai before Sunday evening, both of which are two coastal cities of Shandong province.

The province has issued yellow alert for Typhoon Lekima. Ships have returned to port, some railway services have been suspended and flights have been canceled. Scenic spots such as Taishan Mountain and Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center have also been temporarily closed.

Lekima, the ninth typhoon of this year, landed around 1:45 am Saturday in Zhejiang, bringing heavy rainstorms and triggering flash floods.

China has a four-tier color-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe weather, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

Ye Qian contributed to the story.