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Typhoon Batters Philippines, Threatens Further Floods in China

Conson is now a tropical storm
An elderly Filipino makes repairs to his shanty home after it was damaged by Typhoon Conson Photographer: Jay Directo/AFP/Getty Images

Typhoon Conson, which left 23 people dead and damaged over 3,000 homes in the Philippines, threatens to exacerbate conditions in China where officials are warning of the worst flooding in 12 years in the Yangtze river region.

Conson, now a tropical storm, was about 627 kilometers (390 miles) west northwest of Manila at 8 a.m. Philippines time and may reach China’s Hainan island tomorrow, the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center said. Flooding across southern China has left at least 118 people dead and 47 missing since July 1, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday.

With Typhoon Conson arriving, flooding in China’s Yangtze River basin could be as bad as in 1998, Wang Jingquan, director of the flood control and drought relief office at the Yangtze River Water Resources Committee, told Agence France-Presse today.

Conson is the latest in a bout of extreme weather to hit east and northeast Asia this month. In addition to flooding in China, torrential rain of more than 10 centimeters (4 inches) an hour in southwest Japan left two people dead as authorities advised 300,000 people to evacuate their homes, Kyodo News reported today.

In 1998, China had what it described as the worst floods in 44 years, including eight flood peaks that hit the 6,400-kilometer regions along the Yangtze river. The floods in central and northeastern China caused 166.6 billion yuan ($25 billion) in damages, according to Xinhua.

Landslide warnings for Fukuoka, Yamaguchi and Nagano prefectures remain in place, according to an update from Japan’s Meteorological Agency at 2.40 p.m. local time. The agency also issued alerts for potential flooding in Shizuoka, Saga and Osaka prefectures.

Philippines Damage

In the Philippines, Conson damaged 3,274 houses, bridges and schools in seven provinces around Manila, according to the website of the National Disaster Coordinating Council. Power has been restored in some areas hit by the typhoon, and damages to infrastructure, fisheries, agriculture and schools amount to 22.3 million pesos ($482,000), it said.

Conson, named after a picturesque mountain region in Vietnam, had sustained winds of 93 kilometers per hour near the center and is moving northwest at 19 kph, the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center said in its latest update. The storm’s winds are forecast to decrease in strength to 74 kph as it hits Hainan island and down to 37 kilometers after making landfall in northern Vietnam and the Chinese mainland.

As rains continue in China, Japan’s Meteorological Agency is warning temperatures in Tokyo and southwest Japan may be as much as 2.2 degrees Celsius higher than normal from July 18 through July 27, without giving further details.

Weathernews Inc., a listed weather forecasting company based in Chiba, east of Tokyo, expects the temperature in Tokyo to reach 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit) on July 18.

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