Heavy surf and torrential rains battered eastern China Sunday, as Typhoon Muifa, with wind gusts of up to 178 kilometers per hour, made its way offshore up the coast.
The typhoon was originally expected to make landfall near Shanghai late Saturday. But China's Central Meteorological Administration now says Muifa changed course and is moving northward toward Shandong province. It is expected to skim along the coast over the next two days.
In preparation for Muifa, Chinese authorities canceled more than 100 flights in the region and thousands of ships along the eastern coast were called back to shore.
Officials also said they are prepared to halt or delay high-speed rail services, depending on the severity of the storm. Emergency officials are readying relief supplies and preparing for evacuations.
Although Shanghai was spared the full force of typhoon Muifa's high winds and heavy rains, the storm blew down billboards, cut power in some areas and forced the closure of two major bridges linking the mainland with outlying islands.
Muifa claimed four lives as it passed through the northern and central Philippines last week. It lashed the Japanese island of Okinawa Friday with heavy rains and high winds, causing numerous injuries but no deaths.