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People walk along the Bund as storm clouds gather over the Huangpu River in Shanghai on August 2, 2012. Shanghai is being approached by two typhoons forecast to land in the next two days with Typhoon Saola forecast to landfall south of Shanghai on August 3, while Typhoon Damrey is forecast to make landfall north of Shanghai on August 2. Typhoon Haikui followed a few days later. (AFP PHOTO)

SHANGHAI: A strong typhoon ploughed into China's eastern coast on Wednesday, the country's third in a week, knocking down buildings and cutting off power to hundreds of thousands of people, state media said.

Typhoon Haikui made landfall early on Wednesday morning in Zhejiang province south of Shanghai, after authorities moved more than 1.5 million residents out of the path of the storm, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Zhejiang had yet to report deaths or injuries, it added.

The typhoon quickly weakened after landing south of Ningbo city, the China Meteorological Administration said, but warned that Haikui was still packing winds of up to 137 kilometres per hour.

The storm had cut off electricity to nearly 400,000 households in Zhejiang province, Xinhua said. In Ningbo city, two houses collapsed including a workers' dormitory but firefighters rescued all twelve trapped people, it said.

Haikui did not make a direct hit on Shanghai, but officials warned the biggest impact might be from rain and wind later on Wednesday as the typhoon moved northwest through Zhejiang into Anhui province.

Shanghai, mainland China's financial hub, raised its most severe typhoon signal, red, shortly before midday on Wednesday and urged people to stay home.

The central government was forecasting up to 400 millimetres (16 inches) of rain for some regions affected by the typhoon.

The Shanghai stock market opened for trading as usual, but flights at the city's two airports were halted and some long-distance train services in eastern China were suspended, reports said.

Construction sites and public parks were ordered to be shut.

“The biggest influence of Haikui should occur today with large gales and heavy downpours,” Xu Ming, a researcher with the city's weather bureau, told the Shanghai Daily.

Shanghai officials have moved 374,000 people to emergency shelters, amid fears the storm could be the worst since 2005, when Typhoon Matsa killed seven people in the city.

Haikui is the third typhoon to hit China in a week, after two battered other parts of the country over the weekend, killing 23 people, Xinhua reported earlier this week.

Typhoon Saola left 14 dead in the central province of Hubei while nine people were killed in the northeastern province of Liaoning by Typhoon Damrey, it said.

China is hit by typhoons every summer, normally affecting its eastern and southern regions.

Updated Aug 08, 2012 06:53am

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