China and Taiwan are preparing for their strongest typhoon this year

  • Duxuri is expected to land in southern China on Friday
  • The typhoon is expected to overtake Taiwan and the Philippines
  • Doksuri may affect autumnal grain crops in inland China

BEIJING/TAIPI (Reuters) – China urged fishing boats to seek shelter and farmers to speed up their harvests, while Taiwan suspended annual military exercises as Typhoon Doxuri approached from East Asia and is likely to reach deep into China.

Duxuri is likely to be the strongest typhoon to land in China so far this year’s stormy season. China narrowly escaped Typhoon Mawar, one of the strongest tropical cyclones on record for the month of May, which was headed for China but later turned north towards Japan before dissipating.

Duxuri has a diameter of about 1,000 km and is expected to pass sparsely populated islands off the northern tip of the Philippines by midweek, while strong winds and heavy rains lash Taiwan to the north.

Philippine authorities have already raised storm warning levels for the metropolitan area and dozens of northern provinces, and have begun evacuating some coastal communities in the path of the storm.

China’s National Meteorological Center said Tuesday that the country has maximum sustained winds of 138 mph (223 km/h), and will make landfall on the Chinese mainland somewhere between Fujian and Guangdong provinces on Friday.

While Duxuri is expected to lose some of its strength and land either as a typhoon or severe typhoon, it will still hit densely populated Chinese cities with heavy rains and strong winds.

Fujian ordered all offshore fishing boats to seek shelter in the nearest port by noon Wednesday and told farmers to harvest rice and other crops that had ripened.

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China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, concerned about autumn grain crops, warned Monday that Doxuri may go deep into inland lands after landing, affecting tall-stemmed crops such as corn and even rice in rural areas.

After the storm has passed, plots without broken stems should be leveled quickly and flooded fields should be drained in time, the ministry said, with fast-acting fertilizers used to speed up plant recovery.

Some exercises have been cancelled

Taiwan canceled some of its annual military exercises on Tuesday for safety reasons as authorities stepped up preparations for what they said could be the most damaging typhoon to hit the island in nearly four years.

It was not immediately clear how the typhoon could further affect the five-day Han Kuang exercise, which is scheduled to take place across the island this week with a focus on defending the island’s main international airport and how to keep sea lanes open in the event of a Chinese blockade.

Beijing has never renounced the use of force to bring the democratically governed island under its control. Taiwan rejects Beijing’s claims to sovereignty and has vowed to defend its freedom and democracy.

The Taiwan Meteorological Bureau issued marine and land warnings for southern Pington County and urged communities to prepare for heavy rain and strong winds.

In the southern port city of Kaohsiung, authorities scrambled to collect hundreds of containers drifting at sea after the Angel container ship sank off the southwestern coast of Taiwan last week.

“Taiwan has not seen a typhoon make landfall in more than 1,400 days, which is why I urge all government ministries to prepare and prepare,” Prime Minister Chen Xin Jin said in a Facebook post.

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“I would like to remind citizens not to underestimate the threat of hurricanes.”

Additional reporting by Ryan Wu in Beijing and Weimu Li in Taipei; Additional reporting by Karen Lima in Manila. Editing by Stephen Coates and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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