Traffic services resume as weakening tropical storm Higos leaves China island

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HAIKOU, Oct 05, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network) -- Highway, rail and flight services have totally resumed in Hainan on Sunday as tropical storm Higos gradually weakened and left this southernmost island province of China, local authorities said.

Higos, the 17 tropical storm of the year, downgraded to a low pressure storm, left Hainan at 11 a.m. Navigation has resumed across the Qiongzhou Strait which separates Hainan from the Chinese mainland.

Passengers and tourists stranded on the island by the storm were leaving the region for home.

The storm caused an economic loss of 44 million yuan (6.5 million U.S. dollars), but it reduced the risk of drought as the storm increased 305 million cubic meters of water in reservoirs and the rainfall in most counties exceeded 100 mm, said Lin Mingzhong, Hainan Provincial Office for Flood, Wind and Drought Control deputy director.

Higos crossed the Qiongzhou Strait to land in Wuchuan of southern Guangdong Province at about 5 p.m. on Saturday, bringing heavy rains and strong wind of up to 15 meters per second in coastal areas of the province, according to the Guangdong Provincial Office for Flood, Wind and Drought Control.

It would continue to weaken as it was moving northeast at a speed of 10 kilometers per hour, said Lu Shan, Guangdong Provincial Meteorological Station chief forecaster.

Higos was formed on Tuesday in the Pacific Ocean, coming on the heels of tropical storms Jangmi and Hagupit, which had killed about 20 people in China.