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Typhoon lands in southern China, downgrades to tropical storm

A taxi maneuvers around a fallen tree from Typhoon Matmo Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, July 22, 2014.

Wally Santana/AP

Typhoon Matmo churned ashore in southeastern China on Wednesday and was downgraded to a tropical storm, while the death toll from last week's more powerful Typhoon Rammasun rose further.

After passing across Taiwan overnight Tuesday, Matmo made landfall in China's heavily populated province of Fujian. The country's weather agency said it had gusts of 108 kilometres an hour and was moving at 20 km/h.

The province's flood control headquarters said nearly 300,000 people had been evacuated by Wednesday afternoon.

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Authorities in Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai, had ordered fishing boats to return to port and stepped up patrols to watch for breaks in coastal and river embankments, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The typhoon weakened after dumping heavy rain on Taiwan, where it injured five people and knocked out power to 31,505 homes, according to the island's Central News Agency.

Matmo was forecast to turn north and pass over areas west of Shanghai, China's biggest business centre, according to the Hong Kong Observatory.

Rains of up to 300 millimetres were forecast in Shanghai and areas as far north as Jiangsu province, Xinhua said, citing the country's weather agency.

Farther south on the mainland, communities in Guangdong province and on Hainan Island were clearing away debris left by Rammasun, which hit China on Friday.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs raised China's death toll from Rammasun by 10 to 56 and said another 20 people were missing. That raised the total number of deaths from Rammasun in the Philippines, China and Vietnam to 161.

Rammasun, with winds of up to 216 km/h was the strongest typhoon to hit China in four decades. It destroyed 40,000 houses, knocked out power and water supplies and caused 38 billion yuan ($6-billion) in economic losses, the ministry said.

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