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Typhoon warning raised for tropical storm Chaba, heavy winds to lash South China

BEIJING, China - Hong Kong's weather forecaster raised the typhoon warning late on Thursday for Tropical Storm Chaba, with threatening wind gusts expected to slam into South China and cause more damage to inland areas still suffering from weeks of destructive rainstorms.

The first tropical cyclone of 2022 lashed Hong Kong during the day as China's President Xi Jinping arrived in the former British colony to celebrate 25 years since its return to Chinese rule.

At 11 p.m. local time, The Hong Kong Observatory said tropical storm Chaba was estimated to be about 570 kilometers (354 miles) south of Hong Kong and is forecast to move north-northwest at about 18 kilometers per hour in the general direction of the coast of western Guangdong.

The observatory issued a Strong Wind Signal, No. 3 - an upgrade from its lowest alert. This means that winds with mean speeds of 41 to 62 kilometers per hour (26 to 38 mph) are expected. The warning will remain in force until before noon Friday.

"Make sure objects likely to be blown away are securely fastened or taken indoors. Stay away from the shoreline and not to engage in water sports," the observatory warned on its website. It said it will closely monitor the movement of Chaba and changes of local winds.

As Chaba gradually edges closer to the coast of western Guangdong, local winds are strengthening gradually, the observatory said.

The coastal province of Guangdong, the country's most populous with about 126 million people, was inundated with rain in June that caused flooding as summer thunderstorms pummeled China's south.

Tropical Storm Chaba was named Tropical Storm Caloy, which brought heavy rains in parts of the Philippines.

Earlier, the National Defense General Office issued a level 4 emergency response and sent two working groups to Guangdong and the Guangxi region to assist and guide typhoon prevention work, according to Chinese state media. -- Reuters