GUANGZHOU/BEIJING, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Three people were killed and six went missing in disasters caused by Typhoon Vicente which made landfall early Tuesday morning over the city of Taishan in south China's Guangdong province.
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, nearly half million people in nine coastal cities were affected, including 75,000 people who were evacuated and were in urgent need of assistance, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Strong winds toppled 500 houses and damaged about 13,600 hectares of crops. The total economic loss was estimated at 180 million yuan (28.2 million U.S. dollars), according to the ministry.
Typhoon Vicente made landfall over coastal areas near Chixi township around 4:15 a.m. Tuesday, with wind speeds of up to 144 km per hour near its center, the provincial meteorological station said.
Vicente has brought heavy rains to coastal areas in Guangdong.
It is expected to move northwestward at a speed of 15 to 20 km per hour as it weakens, the station said.
Gales and downpours are expected to hit western Guangdong and the Pearl River Delta from Tuesday to Wednesday.
Intercity high-speed train services between Guangzhou and Shenzhen have been temporarily halted due to the storm, the Guangzhou Railway Group Corporation said, adding that train speeds on the Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed railway had been reduced to ensure safety.
All shipping lines across the Qiongzhou Strait, located between Leizhou Peninsula in Guangdong province and Hainan Island, have been closed since Sunday night.
The meteorological station of Haikou, capital of Hainan, issued a red alert for the storms on Tuesday, the highest warning level in China's four-tier color-coded weather warning system.
Thirty-two flights had been canceled at the Phoenix International Airport in Hainan's city of Sanya as of Tuesday morning.
Seas off the coast of Guangdong, Fujian and Hainan provinces are expected to experience waves of three to five meters in height, according to a Monday forecast from the National Maritime Forecast Station.
It has warned local authorities and the public to take precautionary measures and intensify safety checks for fishing facilities.