Trees are seen in strong winds brought by Typhoon Mekkhala in Zhangpu County of Zhangzhou, southeast China's Fujian Province, Aug. 11, 2020. (Xinhua/Wei Peiquan)
FUZHOU, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Mekkhala, the sixth typhoon of this year, made landfall in east China's Fujian Province on Tuesday morning, bringing with it strong winds and torrential rain.
The typhoon landed in coastal areas of Zhangpu County at around 7:30 a.m., bringing gales of up to 33 meters per second near its eye, according to local meteorological authorities.
Strong gales and torrential rain toppled trees and houses, trapped tourists and caused hazards on roads in Zhangzhou City, which administers Zhangpu County, as well as in the coastal city of Xiamen.
In a highway service zone of Zhangzhou, dozens of vehicles took shelter from high winds on the roadside on Tuesday morning. Two police officers also stood in front of a toppled tree near another expressway rest stop in the city to warn upcoming cars of the danger.
Roofs of some wooden houses at a tourist site in Zhangpu County were torn off by gales, while a total of 30 tourists were trapped at the attraction. So far, all of them have been evacuated to a safe place.
An advertisement board is blown down by strong winds brought by Typhoon Mekkhala on a road in Zhangpu County of Zhangzhou, southeast China's Fujian Province, Aug. 11, 2020. (Xinhua/Wei Peiquan)
The gales and heavy rains have disrupted local traffic. Some trains have been ordered to stop services in the province. Gaoqi airport in Xiamen canceled 51 outbound flights on Monday and more than 30 flights on Tuesday morning.
Passenger ferries were ordered to suspend services in affected areas. Gong Jinwei, a staff member of Xiamen Ferry Co., Ltd., said the tourist routes were suspended on Monday afternoon, and all of the company's 28 vessels had returned to harbor. The service will be resumed until further notice.
The Xiamen flood control office said that more than 5,600 fishing boats had been moored and over 3,200 people had been evacuated to land.
A fallen tree is seen on an expressway in Zhangpu County of Zhangzhou, southeast China's Fujian Province, Aug. 11, 2020. (Xinhua/Wei Peiquan)
China's national observatory on Monday issued a yellow alert for Typhoon Mekkhala, which will bring gales to the country's eastern and southern coastal regions. China has a four-tier color-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe weather, followed by orange, yellow and blue.
Mekkhala weakened into a strong tropical storm on Tuesday morning. "Some parts of the province will still experience downpours," said Zheng Guo'en, an official with the Fujian provincial department of water resources, adding that no casualties had been reported so far.
Heavy rains lashed more than 80 cities and counties in Fujian. From 6 a.m. Monday to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Zhangpu County saw over 170 mm of rainfall.
Thousands of rescue workers have been put on standby for potential disaster relief.
Mekkhala was the second typhoon that landed in coastal areas of east China over the past week. Last Tuesday, Hagupit, the fourth typhoon of this year, landed in east China's Zhejiang Province, packing winds of 38 meters per second near its center. ■