A blue typhoon alert was issued by Shanghai Meteorological Bureau at 5pm on Thursday.
Lekima, the ninth typhoon this year and currently a super typhoon, is approaching China’s east coast.
The weather authority expects it to make landfall in Zhejiang Province on Saturday morning but didn’t rule out the possibility the typhoon would continue moving north over the sea.
From Friday night to Sunday morning, Shanghai will be hit by heavy rain. Level-10 gales, strong enough to uproot trees, may impact the downtown area, while in coastal areas gales will reach level 11.
The city’s flood prevention authority urged all districts and government bodies to take precautions after the blue alert was triggered.
In China’s color-coded weather warning system, red represented the most severe weather, followed by orange, yellow and blue.
The city government has asked local authorities to launch emergency responses and be prepared for the weather to prevent extreme incidents and minimize losses.
The government also warned related departments to intensify real-time monitoring of weather changes and issue alerts promptly by means of the Internet and text messaging.
Residents have been asked to reduce outdoor activities and ensure possessions kept outdoors are protected.
Workers and tourists in coastal areas, such as the Yangshan Deep-Water Port, Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal and tidal-flat areas near the shore, will be evacuated if the weather becomes extreme.
Also, about 16,000 people will be evacuated from suburban Jinshan District, which has prepared 50 shelter sites.
All boats are urged to dock and construction sites, outdoor activities and entertainment facilities should close down.
Measures will be taken to prevent downtown areas and farmland from being deluged. The city has prepared pumps and emergency teams to drain water at flood points.
The city government also urged districts to thoroughly inspect high-rise objects, such as outdoor air-conditioner units, billboards, light boxes and the curtain walls of high-rise buildings.
Stricter management will be imposed for Metro stations, commercial streets, construction sites, tourist attractions, airports, harbors, ports and bus stations. Measures will be taken to ensure supply of water, electricity and gas.
China Eastern and Shanghai Airlines have canceled 24 flights to and from Taiwan Island today. Passengers can travel on new dates or apply for a refund, the Shanghai-based carrier said.
Air China has canceled 11 flights today to and from Shanghai, Taipei, Dalian in the northeast Liaoning Province, Chengdu in the southwest Sichuan Province as well as Wenzhou in neighboring Zhejiang Province.
Shanghai’s two major airports have taken precautions.
Shanghai Airport Authority said it had stabilized rooftop facilities, hanging signs, glass curtain-walls, advertisement boards and outdoor facilities. Airlines have been asked to ensure the safety of berthing aircraft during a typhoon.
Sewage and rainwater pipes at Hongqiao airport, which is more vulnerable to rainstorms and typhoons, have been dredged to prevent flooding.
Waterways around the airport have also been lowered to ensure water on the runways can be drained immediately.
Dredging and cleaning machines have been prepared at both airports to ensure sewage ditches remain unblocked. They have cleaned up 15,600 cubic meters of sludge ahead of the rainy season, the authority said.
Flight information will be published on the airport authority’s social network platforms and at www.shanghaiairport.com.
Passengers are advised to check flight information with airlines.
The Yangshan Deep-Water Port is expected to encounter its strongest typhoon since 2014 with gales reaching level 14, the Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration said. It has sent alerts to all boats at the port and asked them to return.
As of 3pm, all the passenger boats had returned to their docks, while sewage ships, fuel boats and other smaller vessels have been evacuating to safe places.
Eleven water drainage emergency teams with the city’s Chengtou Group, the major investor, developer and operator of infrastructure facilities, are on standby.
Its reservoirs, water supply plants and waste water treatment sites have had inspections of drainage, pumps, dams and flood walls. Water gates have been shut down to prevent factories from being flooded during the typhoon and rainstorm.
Multiple high-speed train operations in the Yangtze River Delta region will be suspended on Saturday and Sunday due to the possible impact of Lekima, said China Railway Shanghai Group.
The Jinshan express railway will be suspended from 4pm on Saturday. After 8pm, all trains between Shanghai and Hangzhou in neighbouring Zhejiang Province, including high-speed trains and green trains, will be suspended.
Meanwhile, sales of tickets for trains going to Suzhou, Hangzhou and Ningbo on Sunday have stopped, the group said.
Those who have already bought tickets for suspended trains can get a full refund from the 12306 website or app.
As the typhoon is expected to bring rainstorms and gales to the city over the weekend, the railway group will launch an emergency response from midnight on Friday. Extra manpower will be dispatched to inspect the tracks, power systems and stations to ensure passenger safety.
Urban management and law enforcement officials across the city inspected outdoors advertising facilities with potential safety hazards on Thursday as a precaution.
Officials with the Pudong New Area Urban Management and Law Enforcement Bureau conducted an inspection of Disney Town and Shendi Rd E. covering structure facades, outdoors shop signs and billboards, advertising facilities, air-conditioning and traffic signage to eliminate potential safety hazards.
At the west traffic hub of the Shanghai International Tourism Resort, large advertisement boards and welding points were checked.
Officials also checked outdoor facilities at the Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall.