Ships anchor at a harbor of Haikou, capital of southmost China's Hainan Province, April 17, 2008. Tropical storm Neoguri, which formed in the South China Sea on Tuesday, strengthened into a typhoon Wednesday afternoon and is approaching the sea south of China's Hainan island. Neoguri is the first tropical storm to hit China this year.
BEIJING, April 17 (Xinhua) -- China's central meteorological observatory issued a warning against typhoon Neoguri on Thursday morning, forecasting strong rain and wind in the southern Hainan Province.
The latest forecast at 6 a.m. showed the center of Neoguri was 480 kilometers southeast of Sanya City, in southern Hainan Province, packing winds of up to 126 kilometers per hour.
The observatory said the center of the typhoon would move northwestward at a speed of 15 km per hour and may hit the southern coast of Hainan on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, or skim over the offshore areas.
The observatory urged ships and boats to return to shore and local residents at the coastal areas to take precautions against the typhoon.
The State Disaster Relief Commission on Wednesday instructed the southern regions of Hainan, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou and Yunnan to prepare for the typhoon.
Relevant regions must put people's life and property safety on top of their disaster prevention and relief agenda and guard against possible floods and geological disasters beget by the heavy rainfall, the commission said in its circular.
Civil affairs bureau were put on 24-hour alert and were ordered to carry out emergency plans whenever necessary to ensure the daily necessities of disaster-affected people.
Neoguri, the first tropical storm hit China this year, was formed in the South China Sea on Tuesday. It strengthened into a typhoon on Wednesday afternoon.