China, Taiwan warn of strengthening tropical storm

By the Associated Press | June 24, 2011 | 10:44 AM EDT

A resident throws his fishing net at the swollen Marikina River in Marikina city, east of Manila, Philippines, Friday, June 24, 2011, after heavy rains inundated the capital overnight. The heavy rains, brought about by Tropical Storm Meari (locally called Falcon) triggered flash floods and rough seas, forcing classes to be suspended Friday, government offices shut and dozens of flights canceled. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

BEIJING (AP) — China alerted Shanghai and four coastal provinces Friday evening that a tropical storm is expected to intensify and become the season's first typhoon to strike China.

Storage depots were opened to prepare to distribute emergency supplies as China already struggles with disastrous seasonal flooding that has put scores of reservoirs near their limits.

The Civil Affairs Ministry ordered Shanghai, along with Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian and Shandong provinces to monitor Tropical Storm Meari and to issue timely warnings to the public.

Taiwan also cautioned its residents that torrential rain could hit the eastern and southern parts of the island Saturday.

Meari's rains since Thursday triggered flooding in the Philippines, leaving 10 fishermen lost at sea. Another person was swept away by a strong river current in an eastern province.

A wide swath of metropolitan Manila and the northern Philippines was flooded, Administrator Benito Ramos of the Office of Civil Defense said. Nearly 50,000 residents fled to evacuation centers.

As of Friday evening, Meari was centered 260 miles (420 kilometers) southeast of Taipei and was expected to move north or northwest at about 15 miles (25 kilometers) per hour toward the East China Sea.