Southern China Braces For Typhoon Conson Landfall

BEIJING — Disaster prevention teams fanned out across southern China in preparation for torrential rains and lashing winds Friday, as Typhoon Conson crept toward land after killing 38 people and leaving a trail of destruction in the Philippines.

BEIJING — Disaster prevention teams fanned out across southern China in preparation for torrential rains and lashing winds Friday, as Typhoon Conson crept toward land after killing 38 people and leaving a trail of destruction in the Philippines.

Conson had been downgraded to a tropical storm after blowing out of the Philippines but strengthened again into a typhoon late Thursday with winds of 75 miles per hour (120 kilometers per hour), China's National Meteorological Center said.

It was expected to make landfall on Hainan island Friday evening or night, though it could veer to the west and not directly hit the island.

Light rain was already falling on Hainan, and conditions were dark and windy, an official at the provincial meteorological bureau said. Authorities dispatched relief workers in preparation for the storm and ordered thousands of boats to dock.



"We're expecting heavy rains this afternoon and possible high waves," said the official, who refused to give her name as is common among Chinese bureaucrats. "Even though typhoons are common in our region, we are still taking precautionary safety measures."

In addition to Hainan, parts of Guangdong province and neighboring Guangxi region will see torrential rains over the next 24 hours as Conson moves toward the northwest at 9 to 13 mph (15 to 20 kph).



The typhoon killed at least 38 people in the Philippines, but emergency crews restored electricity to Manila and nearby provinces on Luzon island on Thursday as normalcy crept back. Authorities continued the search for 47 missing people and started to repair the damage caused by the year's first major typhoon.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, in a nationally televised emergency meeting, scolded the weather bureau for failing to predict that Conson would hit Manila, which left government agencies unprepared for the onslaught.



On Thursday, the navy, coast guard and policemen recovered the bodies of 14 fishermen at Bataan province, west of Manila. Nine died when a wayward oil barge slammed into their boats, which were moored near Mariveles town, the coast guard said. The bodies of five other fishermen were found at sea off Bataan, where their boats sank.

Many parts of China have been pounded by storms this summer, though areas expected to be hit by Conson had not been seriously affected so far. Flooding and subsequent landslides in communities along the Yangtze River and other scattered parts of China have killed 135 people so far this month, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said. Direct economic losses in July reached 26 billion yuan ($3.8 billion).



Conson should continue its northwest path inland over the weekend, heading toward southwest China and northern Vietnam. It was not expected to hit the areas in China already battered by weeks of flooding.

In Japan, police said landslides caused by heavy rains killed two people in Hiroshima while another was swept away in a swollen river. Eight people were missing across western and central Japan.

Source: AP