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Typhoon Muifa churns toward Chinese port city
North China port city braces for Typhoon Muifa, calling home ships and evacuating coast
By The Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) ' High waters and heavy surf battered a Chinese port city as Typhoon Muifa approached Sunday on its way up along the country's east coast.

Authorities closed beaches and piled sandbags along Qingdao's waterfront, after evacuating hundreds of thousands of people from coastal homes further south and calling more than 30,000 ships back to shore.

In the commercial capital of Shanghai, where strong winds downed power lines and blew away billboards, a 24-year-old man was reported missing while swimming in heavy surf in the city's Jinshan district, Shanghai Television reported.



The rains threw train and bus services into disarray. Hundreds of flights in eastern China were canceled over the weekend.

Muifa ' moving northwest about 15 miles per hour (23 kph) over the East China Sea ' was forecast to slam into the Shandong peninsula near Qingdao early Monday and weaken to a tropical storm, the Hong Kong Observatory said.

On Sunday afternoon the Category 1 typhoon was about 260 miles (420 kilometers) southeast of Qingdao, passing west of South Korea with winds gusting at up to 85 miles per hour (137 kph).

South Korean authorities issued a tidal wave and flood warning along the country's west and south coast and urged steps to prevent possible flooding. They also warned of strong winds overnight that could possibly damage trees, traffic lights and street signs in central parts of the country, including the capital Seoul.

Many domestic flights, including between Seoul and the southern island of Jeju, were canceled, according to Yonhap news agency. More than 20,000 Jeju homes suffered blackouts of up to an hour Sunday, and a 600-year-old hackberry tree fell and damaged a traditional building from the Joseon dynasty that ruled the Korean peninsula from 1392-1910.

Heavy rain was also forecast Monday and Tuesday for parts of North Korea, which has been hit by massive flooding that has damaged wide swaths of farmland as well as tens of thousands of homes.

Last week, Typhoon Muifa killed four people in the Philippines without making landfall. In Japan it caused 27 injuries in Okinawa on Friday and knocked out power to more than 60,000 homes, Japan's Kyodo News agency said.

___

Associated Press writers So Yeon Kwon and Jiyoung Won contributed to this report from Seoul, South Korea.


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