Typhoon Lekima, with winds of 209 km/h, bears down on coastal China

A Taiwanese man holds an umbrella against powerful gusts of wind generated by typhoon Lekima in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying

China has issued its top warning for coastal areas of Zhejiang province ahead of a strong typhoon.

Heavy rain was expected in Zhejiang, Shanghai and nearby provinces on Friday before Typhoon Lekima hits land on Saturday morning, then weakens as it moves north.

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Parts of northern Taiwan closed offices and suspended classes at schools on Friday as the storm passed northeast of the island.

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The red alert China issued is the most serious in its four-tired alert system, prompting authorities to prepare evacuations, suspend train and air travel and require vessels to return to port.

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The National Meteorological Center said Lekima was gusting at 209 kph (130 mph) and travelling northwesterly at 13 kph (8 mph).

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