Tropical storm Jebi is expected to bring heavy rains and strong gales to China's southernmost island province of Hainan on Friday, local meteorological authorities said Wednesday.

A tropical depression over the South China Sea strengthened into a storm named Jebi at about 8 a.m. Wednesday, the provincial meteorological center said in a statement.

Jebi, the ninth tropical storm to hit China this year, is expected to land in eastern Hainan or on the Leizhou Peninsula of Guangdong Province sometime Friday afternoon or night, it said.

The storm, located about 690 km southeast of Hainan's Wenchang City as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, is moving northwest at a speed of 5 to 10 km per hour. It is strengthening as it nears the eastern coast of Hainan, the agency added.

All local fishing vessels have been ordered to return to port to take shelter from the storm.

Meanwhile, the center has urged local authorities to step up safety inspections to brace for the storm, as heavy rains could threaten the safety of some rivers and reservoirs.





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