Typhoon hits Taiwan, China on alert

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TAIPEI, Oct 6 (Reuters) Typhoon Krosa slammed into Taiwan today, with strong winds and heavy rains cutting power and cancelling flights while mainland China braced for what it called a serious impact.

Authorities in China ordered the provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian to call more than 27,000 fishing boats back to safe harbours, Xinhua said.

In Taiwan, disaster authorities said the storm shut down schools and businesses in the north of the country.

''The wind is tremendous here, and we've lost power,'' said Chuang Min-hsiang, of Taitung. ''We're all at home doing work to protect ourselves from the typhoon.'' Three people were hurt, the National Fire Agency said.

A service staff member at Taipei's Kaohsiung airport said more than 10 international flights were cancelled today.

EVA Airways, Taiwan's No 2 international carrier, cancelled most of its afternoon flights, according to TV reports.

Northern Taiwan's main port in Keelung was closed at 6 a m.

British typhoon tracking system Tropical Storm Risk (http://tsr.mssl.ucl.ac.uk/) called Krosa a category 4 typhoon.

Krosa was 160 km off the coast of Taiwan at 0730 IST today after picking up strength throughout the week, and was packing sustained winds of 184 kph (114 mph) and gusts of up to 227 kph (140 mph), Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau reported.

Tropical Storm Risk said Krosa was expected to weaken to a category 3 storm by early tomorrow morning and a category 2 storm by tomorrow, when it was expected to hit Zhejiang province of China, before heading northeast toward Fukuoka.

Xinhua news agency reported that tours during its week-long holidays were cancelled in Zhejiang's coastal area and all holiday-makers evacuated from the islands.

Zhejiang officials warned that Krosa was likely to make landfall there as early as tomorrow morning, and parts of the province were already enduring torrential rain.

Likewise, neighbouring Fujian province cancelled coastal tours and sent tourists to safer areas.

Shanghai, which will host a Formula One car race tomorrow, also braced for harsh weather, possibly later that day.

Typhoons regularly hit China, Taiwan, the Philippines and Japan from August through the end of the year, gathering strength from the warm waters of the Pacific or the South China Sea before weakening over land.

REUTERS SKB KN1814

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