August 9, 2019 1:22 am

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
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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.

WATCH: Sept. 16, 2018 — Hong Kong drenched as Super Typhoon Mangkhut hits China

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

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.

READ MORE: Hurricane Florence vs. Typhoon Mangkut — the differences between the two storms

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

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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