China issues top alerts on Kai-Tak

China’s flood control authority on Thursday initiated a Level III emergency response, up from Wednesday’s Level IV, to cope with possible flooding as typhoon Kai-Tak approaches the country’s southern regions.

Local governments should closely monitor Kai-Tak, issue warnings in a timely manner and take all measures to ensure people’s safety, said the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

Kai-Tak is forecast to make landfall in coastal regions of Guangdong Province at noon or during the morning of Friday, bringing heavy rain and gales to the country’s southern parts, according to China Meteorological Administration (CMA).

The flood control authority has asked local governments to call ships back to harbor, reinforce outdoor facilities, relocate fishermen and marine staff and strengthen inspections on reservoirs and dikes to prevent breaches.

It said the headquarters has dispatched three working groups to Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan to help coordinate flood relief efforts.

Also on Thursday, Chinese marine environment authorities upgraded the alert about sea waves and storm surges to the highest level of red for Kai-Tak.

The move was made at 4 p.m., eight hours after the previous upgrade in the morning, the National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center said in a report.

The center uses a four-tier color-coded wave warning system, with red being the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

Typhoon Kai-Tak, the 13th typhoon of this year, was about 545 km to the southeast of Zhanjiang city of Guangdong Province at 5 p.m., according to the CMA.

The report forecast that from Thursday evening to Friday, northern waters in the South China Sea will produce waves six to eight meters high, while waters off coastal areas in Guangdong will see waves four to six meters high.

The neighboring Hainan and Guangxi will also witness 2.5- to 3.5-meter-high waves during the same period, according to the forecast.

The center also issued a red alert of storm surges at the southern coastal area of Guangdong, with a forecasted surge of 50 to 250 cm from Thursday evening to Friday afternoon.

The center warned local authorities and the public to take precautionary measures and intensify safety checks on fishing facilities.

Earlier on Thursday, the CMA also raised its emergency response on Kai-Tak to Level II from IV.

The CMA forecast that Kai-Tak would cause heavy rain and gales in coastal areas.

The southern part of Guangdong will be hit hardest as precipitation in some regions is expected to reach 250 to 300 mm, while areas of southern Fujian and Guangxi, most parts of Guangdong, and northern Hainan will see strong downpours, said the CMA report issued at 9 a.m. on Thursday.

The administration urged local governments to monitor possible flooding and landslides in mountainous districts, as well as helping evacuate dilapidated housing and halting massive rallies to avoid casualties.

It also asked local flood control authorities to call back ships and reinforce port facilities to mitigate economic losses.

Since the start of August, several typhoons, including Saola, Damrey and Haikui, have hit southeast China, leaving 51 dead and 21 missing, according to the country’s Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Xinhua