Typhoons make Mid-Autumn Festival a washout on China’s east coast

China’s east coast has experienced a wet and windy Mid-Autumn Festival, with the arrival of Typhoon Meranti on the first day of the holiday and Typhoon Malakas expected to bring more heavy rainfall to end the weekend.

Meranti had left at least 28 people dead and 15 missing in the southeast of the mainland by Saturday since it landed in Fujian province on Thursday morning, according to Xinhua.

On Saturday afternoon, China’s meteorological authority issued a yellow alert that Malakas, the 16th typhoon this year, was moving at speeds of up to 20km/h towards China’s east coast and expected to bring heavy gales and rain to coastal parts of Zhejiang and Fujian provinces, as well as the northern and central part of Taiwan, before heading towards Japan on Sunday evening.

Typhoon Meranti leaves 13 dead, 700,000 affected in southern mainland China as Taiwan braces for new round of pummelling from Malakas

Saturday was also the last day of China’s three-day Mid-Autumn Festival, before many mainlanders return to work on Sunday. China railway corporations estimated they would transport up to 9.5 million passengers on Saturday and expected to add 388 trains. In the south of China, however, some rail lines either limited train speeds or temporarily shut down lines to brace for another round of foul weather.

On Thursday, Meranti started slamming Fujian, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces along the eastern coast before it gradually weakened to a tropical storm on Friday.

Gale winds and rainstorms uprooted large trees, knocked down thousands of homes and cut off electricity to tens of thousands of families.

Many mainland Chinese had to cancel their travel plans and stay at home because of the tempestuous weather, on an occasion that is typically celebrated with family reunions. The prospect of a second typhoon following closely on the tailwinds of the first was more than many wanted to face as they sought to recover from Meranti.

Typhoon Meranti slams into Xiamen, leaving Hong Kong unscathed

On Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, a netizen who works in Xiamen, a Fujian city that suffered heavy damage in the typhoon, wrote, “This year’s Mid-Autumn Festival is a Mid-Autumn disaster. Typhoon Meranti scared me to death. Sometimes water was cut off; sometimes phone signals were dead; sometimes the internet was down. People living in other places were celebrating the festival. I was eating instant noodles and potato chips for dinner. Xiamen is like a deserted island. I seriously hope that Malakas goes straight to Japan. Please leave Xiamen alone.”

Another user based in Quanzhou, Fujian province, wrote: “Can I say I’m not happy at all about this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival? I’m at home alone. My son isn’t back from school. My husband has been helping save people’s lives since Typhoon Meranti landed … now here comes Typhoon Malakas. Is there an end to this?”

It’s not the first time that typhoons have disrupted China’s Mid-Autumn Festival. In 2013, between September 16 and 24, Super Typhoon Usagi devastated Fujian, Zhejiang and particularly Guangdong province, where close to 30 people died and more than nine million were affected.

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