Thirteen people were killed and 16 remain missing after Typhoon Lekima made landfall in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang on Saturday, resulting in the shutdown of hundreds of ferries, flights and train services.
More than 1 million people were evacuated before the typhoon made landfall at about 1 a.m. local time (1 p.m. Friday ET), with the government opening 122,000 disaster avoidance and resettlement sites, according to a report from Chinese state-run press agency Xinhua.
“With a maximum wind force of 187 kph (116 mph), the super typhoon – the ninth typhoon this year – is expected to bring heavy rain to the provinces of Anhui, Fujian, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang, and the municipality of Shanghai,” Xinhua reported.
Earlier in the week, Lekima was briefly classified as a “super” typhoon, before weakening somewhat.
On Friday morning, China’s National Meteorological Center issued a red typhoon alert – the highest level – meaning businesses and schools in affected areas were advised to close. In Zhejiang’s Taizhou city, 4,900 fishing boats returned to ports and scenic spots were shut, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
China’s Ministry of Water Resources dispatched emergency response teams to Zhejiang, Shanghai and Jiangsu provinces. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs advised people in rural areas across 10 different provinces to prepare for the storm by securing items that could be lifted by the rough winds, and urged farmers to harvest their crops ahead of the typhoon making landfall.
On Friday, local authorities in Taiwan’s capital Taipei announced that businesses and schools would be suspended due to the typhoon. Although the island will be spared from the worst of the typhoon, it will still see some rain.
On Thursday, Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau issued sea and land warnings, asking residents to be prepared for strong winds and rain in five vulnerable areas – Keelung City, Yilan County, New Taipei City, Taipei City, and Hualien County. The Bureau also warned ships to Taiwan’s north and along the east coast to be “alert” to extreme weather.
The Taiwan Central Emergency Operation Center also warned residents to take preventative measures such as bringing outside objects inside, and avoiding the beach. Meanwhile, government authorities and agencies including the National Fire Agency have convened to discuss disaster response.
Lekima has already passed by the southern Ryukyu Islands of Japan, which include Okinawa, where locals experienced over 200mm (7.8in) of rain and winds of up to 168kph (104mph).
Lekima was the fourth typhoon in the western Pacific this week. Typhoon Wipha brought intense gales and rain to China last weekend, Typhoon Francisco made landfall in Japan on Tuesday, and Typhoon Krosa has now formed in the Pacific. The slow-moving Krosa has winds of 165 kph (102.5 mph) is expected to hit mainland Japan by the middle of next week.
Asia last saw a super typhoon in September, when Super Typhoon Mangkhut wreaked havoc across China, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Millions of residents were evacuated, and at least 54 people died.
Japan and Taiwan are generally well fortified and built to withstand storms. But annual typhoon seasons still bring chaos – last summer, Japan had the strongest typhoon in 25 years, leaving at least 10 people dead.
CNN’s Robert Shackelford, Junko Ogura and Jessie Yeung contributed to this story.