HAIKOU, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Rammasun has strengthened to a super typhoon and will probably make landfall in south China's island province of Hainan or the coastal area of Guangdong Province late Friday.
As of 1 p.m., the maximum wind speed at the center of Rammasun reached 216 km per hour, according to the central meteorological observatory.
Lu Shan, chief weatherman of the Guangdong meteorological observatory, said the super typhoon will be moving northwest at a speed of 20 km per hour in the next 24 hours and will probably land in Wenchang City of Hainan or Dianbai District, Maoming City of Guangdong on Friday afternoon or evening, according to the station's forecast.
Rammasun is expected to be the strongest typhoon that Hainan Province has witnessed in 40 years.
More than 70,000 residents near the projected landfall region have been evacuated, said the Hainan provincial command center for flood prevention, drought control and typhoon response. The local Red Cross Society is delivering tents and rice to the region, and the Red Cross Society of China is also allocating disaster relief goods to the province.
The provincial tourism bureau has issued an urgent circular, requiring all tourism resorts to close and tour bus companies to suspend operation from 1 p.m. on Friday to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Wu Hongyu, chief weatherman of the climate center of Guangdong, said Rammasun is likely to replace Sally, which wreaked havoc in 1996, to become the strongest typhoon to hit the province.
Guangdong provincial authorities have launched the highest level of emergency response. Construction projects, schools and businesses have been suspended in cities of Maoming and neighboring Zhanjiang.
Thirty-six trains have been canceled from Thursday to Sunday in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which borders Guangdong. High-speed train services between the regional capital Nanning and coastal cities have also been suspended, according to Nanning's railway bureau.