Tropical Storm Causes Havoc in China, Koreas

Posted August 8th, 2011 at 11:50 am (UTC-5)
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A tropical storm has slammed into northeastern China, threatening a chemical plant.

High waves caused by tropical storm Muifa breached a dyke Monday morning at the Fujiahua chemical plant in the city of Dalian. Residents in the area were evacuated as a precautionary measure, while soldiers and workers reinforced the dyke with large stones and concrete blocks.

Chinese media said the breach was under control for the time being.

Muifa has swept up the Chinese coast and also threatens South Korea, where it left four people dead and two missing on Monday.

South Korean officials say Muifa has toppled hundreds of power lines, cutting power to thousands of houses in southwestern provinces, while roads, port facilities and breakwaters on the country's west coast were destroyed in dozens of places.

Officials at the Korea Meteorological Administration said Muifa will get weaker as it passes over the Korean peninsula and continues to track northeastward into Russia.

Before it was downgraded, Typhoon Muifa battered the Chinese eastern port city of Qingdao with high waters and heavy surf. China's official Xinhua news agency said more than 100,000 people were evacuated Monday from homes in Shandong province, surrounding Qingdao.

The typhoon weakened Sunday as it approached China's coast, avoiding a direct hit on Shanghai and heading north toward Shandong. But the winds and rain caused power outages in some parts of the city and forced more than 200 flight cancellations.

Earlier, authorities evacuated more than 600,000 residents of Shanghai and the nearby coastal areas. They ordered 63,000 vessels to dock. Shanghai television reported that a 24-year-old swimmer was missing in heavy surf.

Muifa claimed several lives as it passed through the Philippines last week. It also lashed the Japanese island of Okinawa Friday, causing injuries but no reported deaths.