Tropical storm brings rain, wind to China, Koreas

AP News
Posted: Aug 08, 2011 11:01 AM
Tropical storm brings rain, wind to China, Koreas

A tropical storm lashed northeastern China and the Korean peninsula on Monday, but fears of a toxic chemical spill appeared to have eased after a breached dike guarding a chemical plant was reinforced. At least four people were killed and two others were reportedly missing in South Korea.

Waves as high as 65 feet (20 meters) broke the dike in Dalian in China's northeastern Liaoning province and threatened to hit the compound of the Fujiahua chemical plant where unspecified chemicals were held, and residents were told to evacuate, Xinhua News Agency said, citing soldiers at the scene.

An official from Dalian's Propaganda Department referred to two reports on a Dalian news website that said the danger had been controlled and the dike was being reinforced with large stones and concrete. The official gave only his surname, Zhang, as is common with Chinese officials.

The U.S. Embassy, however, urged Americans in the area to "take all necessary precautions."

The waves were caused by Tropical Storm Muifa, which China's weather agency said made landfall late Monday afternoon in North Korea.

South Korea's emergency control agency said strong winds and heavy rain killed at least four people along its south and western coasts, the Yonhap news agency reported. Two people were missing after being swept away by stormy seas, it said.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said heavy rain was expected through the night in northwestern provinces as the storm moved northward.

South Korea's state weather agency, the Korea Meteorological Administration, said up to 8 inches (200 millimeters) of rain were expected in some western areas of North Korea. Waves up to 26 feet (8 meters) high were also expected along the coastal areas, the agency said.

Previously a strong typhoon, Muifa downed power lines, billboards and trees in Shanghai and brought heavy rain to coastal Shandong province Sunday. Last week, it killed four people in the Philippines and caused injuries and power outages in far southern Japan without making landfall.