South China braces for typhoon Neoguri

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The southern China provinces of Hainan and Guangdong are bracing for typhoon Neoguri, the first to affect the region this year, by issuing precautions and urging vessels to return to harbor.

About 21,800 fishing boats in Hainan Province have returned to shore for shelter with six others on their way to nearby harbors, said the Hainan provincial flood control headquarters on Thursday.

Neoguri was 440 kilometers southeast of Sanya City at 8 a.m. on Thursday, packing winds of up to 126 kilometers per hour. It was moving northeast at a speed of 10 km to 15 km per hour and was forecast to land in the coastal area between Sanya and Wenchang on Friday night or Saturday morning.

Heavy rain and strong gales will hit Guangdong and Hainan with the approach of the typhoon.

Hainan dispatched four working teams led by top officials of provincial government departments to the cities of Sanya, Wanning, Qionghai and Wenchang to oversee preparations on Thursday afternoon.

Water authorities are also checking the safety of residents in low-lying coastal areas.

Guangdong also activated an emergency response system early on Thursday morning by issuing precautions.

Neoguri formed in the South China Sea on Tuesday. It strengthened into a typhoon on Wednesday afternoon.