Shanghai reopening ports, resuming flights as typhoon passes

SHANGHAI gradually started returning to normal on Thursday (Sep 15) after Typhoon Muifa brought strong winds and heavy rain to the financial and shipping hub overnight.

The region's ports began to reopen, airports resumed passenger flights and train services were restored as the city dropped its typhoon alert to the lowest level. Commuters returned to work in the Lujiazui area, home to mainland China's biggest stock exchange and major banks and insurers, as subway service restarted.

The storm - which was forecast to be the largest to hit the Yangtze River Delta in 10 years, according to Caixin Media - made landfall in Zhoushan, near Ningbo, at 8:30 pm local time Wednesday and arrived in Shanghai around 12.30 am Thursday.

Muifa is currently heading north, weakening to a tropical storm with wind gusts of 86 miles (138 kilometres) an hour, according to the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The China meteorologic administration predicted it will make a third landfall at refinery-rich Shandong province Thursday night.

Initial reports suggested limited damage and minor flooding around Shanghai, though local media reported that more than 400,000 people were evacuated.

The typhoon, the second major storm to hit China's eastern coast this month, created major disruptions across the region as it approached land. Ports halted operations while liquefied natural gas import terminals in Ningbo, Zhoushan island and Jiangsu province also shut down.

Shanghai's 2 major airports cancelled all flights as of late afternoon on Wednesday, while more than 380 trains in the Yangtze River Delta were suspended.

Major container ports in Ningbo resumed operations in the morning, while Shanghai port is scheduled to restart as early as 4 pm local time. LNG terminals in Zhejiang also began returning to normal, although PetroChina's Rudong LNG terminal just north of Shanghai remained shut, according to JLC gas analyst Sun Xuelian.

Some schools delayed openings on Thursday morning, local media reported, and Walt Disney's Shanghai resort reopened at 10 am.

Muifa followed close behind Super Typhoon Hinnamnor, which brushed China's eastern coast last week. That storm, while much more powerful, caused only minor disruptions as it headed toward South Korea.

While Shanghai is recovering from Muifa, attention is beginning to turn toward Asia's next big storm, Nanmadol, which is growing in strength south of Japan and could hit that country early next week. BLOOMBERG

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