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Heatwave Sweeps Through S China As Tropical Storm Moves Inland

A heatwave swept through most of south China's Guangdong Province as Fung Wong, the eighth tropical storm of the year, intensified into full-scale typhoon late on Saturday.

High temperatures occurred in 68 cities and counties, of which nine cities and counties were hit by temperatures exceeding 38 degrees Celsius. Many areas issued the orange warning heatwave signal, said Lin Liangxun, the Guangdong Provincial Meteorological Observatory chief forecaster.

Guangzhou, the provincial capital, on Saturday hit 37.7 degrees Celsius, a record high this summer at Wushan Observatory. The highest temperature of 39.2 degrees Celsius was said to happen in Lianzhou, according to Lin.

By 5:00 PM on Saturday, the eye of typhoon Fung Wong, or "Phoenix", was monitored at 21.4 degrees north latitude and 126.4 degrees east longitude, or 560 km east of Taiwan, packing up to force-12 winds.

The typhoon was expected to continue to move westward at a speed of 15 km to 20 km per hour and would approach Fujian Province after reaching Taiwan early on Monday, Lin said.

Under the impact of the advancing typhoon, it will remain sunny for most parts of the southern province through Monday, and the maximum temperature in northern and eastern Guangdong will be as high as 37 to 38 degrees Celsius.

Elsewhere, meteorological observatories in Fujian and Zhejiang, two provinces on the eastern seaboard, on Saturday issued warnings to ships at sea or ocean-going vessels for tropical storm Fung Wong.

The storm first appeared in the ocean waters east of the Philippines at 2:00 PM on Friday and intensified into a strong tropical storm at 8:00 AM on Saturday. The eye of the storm was monitored at 21.8 degrees north latitude and 127.9 degrees east longitude.

As Fung Wong moved westward, it brought about strong winds and a lot of rain in the areas it swept through.

A Fujian provincial meteorological observatory forecast said it would make landfall head-on in Fujian late on Monday and early Tuesday.

Before its arrival, Fujian was gripped by freak weather on Friday and most of Saturday: heatwave, thunder and lightning, torrential rain and hail stones.

The local meteorological observatory in Fujian gave a blue-color warning before midday on Saturday, predicting there were more days of strong wind and rain ahead beginning on Sunday. It warned ships working in the Taiwan Strait and passing vessels to take special notice.

The meteorological observatory in Zhejiang on Saturday also issued warnings to ocean-going ships for the approaching of Fung Wong and accompanying gale on the sea.

The Zhejiang observatory said the eye of the tropical storm was moving westward at a speed of 15 km to 20 km per hour.

The heatwave that had lingered in Zhejiang over the past several days was ended at midday on Saturday by showers, thunder showers, alongside strong wind.

The forecast said the strong winds whipped up by Fung Wong would continue in the central and southern parts of Zhejiang until Tuesday.

(Xinhua News Agency July 28, 2008)

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