China floods: Much of Shanghai shuts down as Typhoon In-fa lashes city

Many residents of Shanghai stayed home on Monday as Typhoon In-fa continued to lash the city after making landfall at the nearby island-city of Zhoushan on Sunday morning.

Over the next 24 hours, the storm moved north before it hit the mainland city of Pinghu, which is quite close to Shanghai, on Monday morning, according to China’s National Meteorological Centre.

The meteorological authority said the provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu, as well as Shanghai municipality, all in eastern China, will be continually affected by heavy winds and torrential rains over the next couple of days.

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People in Shanghai use their umbrellas to brace against strong winds caused by Typhoon In-fa. Photo: EPA-EFE

The Shanghai municipal government issued an emergency notice on Sunday afternoon requiring employers to make “appropriate arrangements about employee’s work commute” to guarantee their safety.

The local authorities have been vigilant of the risks of potential floods after torrential rainfall in Henan lead to devastating floods that left 69 people dead.

No casualties had been reported as of Monday evening in Shanghai.

Still, the typhoon has disrupted people’s lives. The subway network suspended its above-ground routes, and some roads were submerged with water.

The roof of an overpass outside of a subway station blew off on Sunday and landed on a train connection grid, disrupting traffic.

Shanghai’s iconic skyline looks ominous as Typhoon In-fa bears down on the city. Photo: AFP

“My company last night informed me that we are allowed to work from home today. Actually there’s no way for me to get to the office because the subway I usually take has stopped its service today,” said Emma Xu, a white-collar worker at an American manufacturer in Shanghai’s Pudong District.

“It’s a big decision for my company. When the coronavirus peaked last year, the company still required us to go to work every day.”

She said that the wind broke the ribs of her umbrella when she went outside to dispose of her garbage on Sunday evening.

The municipal Meteorological Bureau said the city received over 100mm of rain from Sunday to Monday and the wind speed topped 117km/h. Shanghai typically receives around 120mm of rain for the entire month of July.

On Monday, the municipal anti-flood commanding office said that among the 654 meteorological monitoring stations across the city, 30 recorded over 70mm of rainfall in the past 12 hours, while 311 have recorded between 30-69mm during the same period.

Many companies allowed their employees to work from home to protect them from the strong winds. Photo: EPA-EFE

The storm has destroyed more than 4,700 trees on the streets, according to local governments.

The typhoon also affected the electricity supply, with some residents of Pudong and Minhang districts complaining of blackouts to the Shanghai branch of the State Grid Corporation of China, a state-owned utility company.

Shanghai officials evacuated 362,000 people last week ahead of the typhoon. 1,800 ships were also withdrawn from the city’s nearby harbours and moved to safer locations, said the anti-flood commanding office.

The two airports in the city cancelled all flights on Sunday, with hundreds of more flights grounded on Monday. Flights began to resume after noon on Monday.

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