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China's Coast Braces For Powerful Typhoon Lekima

A typhoon with sustained top winds of 130 mph is churning at sea as it heads for a landfall on China's eastern coast Saturday, expected to bring heavy rain and flooding.

Beijing on Friday issued its highest warning for super typhoon Lekima, which is expected to come ashore near the city of Ningbo in Zhejiang province in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday.

The storm, which rapidly strengthened earlier this week, will hit China after passing close to northern Taiwan, where on Friday Reuters reports that flights have been cancelled and markets and schools closed.

China's National Meteorological Center issued a red alert for Zhejiang province on Friday days after the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters issued written caution to a total of seven provinces. The China Daily newspaper, quoting a local fishery administration, said in Ningbo more than 2,700 fishing boats had returned to shelter ahead of the storm.

The typhoon was also expected to cause a storm surge in the estuary of China's largest river, the Yangzte.

Another typhoon, Krosa, is behind Lekima, but it is forecast to weaken and is not expected to make landfall.

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.