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China cancels flights as it braces for strongest typhoon of 2019

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Flights, high-speed train and metro services were cancelled in Shanghai as the strongest typhoon to hit the region this year swept past Taiwan and headed toward the Chinese coast.

[TAIPEI] Flights, high-speed train and metro services were cancelled in Shanghai as the strongest typhoon to hit the region this year swept past Taiwan and headed toward the Chinese coast.

Metro services on Line 16 and two other lines will be suspended in the city, the Shanghai local government said on its official WeChat account.

Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines were among those announcing cancellations, mainly for flights between Shanghai and Taiwan on Friday, as Typhoon Lekima approached.

Taiwanese airlines cancelled about 520 international and domestic flights, according to local aviation authorities.

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Shanghai also warned some high-speed rail services will be halted on Saturday, the city's news office said on its WeChat account on Thursday.

China's National Meteorological Center issued an orange alert for Typhoon Lekima along with an orange alert for rainstorm early Saturday, according to statements on the center's website. The country has a four-tier color-coded system for severe weather, with red being the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

The storm was located in Xianju county of eastern China's Zhejiang province at around 7am, the centre said, with top winds of about 119 kilometres per hour.

Mainland China's main financial hub braced for Lekima after the typhoon ravaged Taiwan and Japan. Government offices, schools and businesses, including financial markets, were shut across northern Taiwan on Friday. More than 50,000 homes lost power overnight, though electricity was mostly restored by Friday morning.

Taiwan's Central Emergency Operation Center reported at least one death and four injuries in the wake of the storm.

At least four people were hurt in Okinawa, while flights and ferries across the southern Japanese islands experienced widespread disruptions, according to a report by the Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said Lekima had sustained wind speeds of 184 kilometres per hour, with gusts of 227 kilometre an hour, on Friday morning. Scott Hsieh, a senior meteorologist at the bureau, said it was the strongest typhoon in the western Pacific so far this year.

China's National Meteorological Administration forecasts Lekima, which it classifies as a super typhoon, to head north after making landfall in Zhejiang province.

BLOOMBERG