NANNING, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of passengers are stranded at airports after flights were canceled or delayed on Friday as Typhoon Kai-Tak hit coastal regions in south China at noon.
Kai-Tak, the 13th tropical storm of the year, forced an airport in Beihai, a city in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, to cancel four flights linking Hong Kong and Kunming, capital of neighboring Yunnan Province.
It also led to the delay and cancellation of 14 incoming flights and seven outgoing flights in Meilan International Airport in Haikou, capital of the southern island province of Hainan, stranding thousands of passengers.
Also in Hainan, where the heavy rains lashed, 23 flights had been canceled and 18 others delayed at the Sanya Phoenix International Airport in Sanya City at 10:30 a.m., leaving 3,000 passengers marooned.
According to the latest updates from China's Central Meteorological Observatory, Kai-Tak battered the coastal region of Huguang Township, in Zhanjiang City of the southern province of Guangdong. The typhoon reached a maximum wind speed of 38 meters per second, bringing downpours.
The storm is moving at a speed of 25-30 km per hour. It is expected to arrive at the Beibu Gulf ripping through the Leizhou Peninsula in the afternoon.
In addition to airports, railways were affected. A total of 16 high-speed trains linking Sanya and Haikou were suspended.
In Haikou, there were reportedly few pedestrians spotted in the city, where slow-moving cars were seen clogging the rain-hit roads.
Off the eastern Zhanjiang coast, the violent weather triggered storms as high as four meters.
Trees and billboards could be seen scattered along the roads in the city, where most of the shops and restaurants remained closed.
Meteorological observatories, including Haikou, Lingao and Wenchang, have upgraded their alerts for the typhoon to orange, the second-highest alert on China's four-tiered color-coded alert system.
Hainan and Guangxi have called thousands of ships back to harbor.
Officials supervising flood control and drought relief efforts said relief materials and rescue personnel were fully prepared to mitigate the impact of Kai-Tak.