The National Marine Environmental Forecasting Centre of China Thursday raised an orange wave warning to red for Typhoon Utor, which is expected to hit Guangdong province between Wednesday evening and early Thursday.
The State Oceanic Administration issued a first-level emergency response late Tuesday, urging the administration's south China sea branch to send teams to direct disaster prevention efforts, Xinhua reported.
Utor, the 11th typhoon to hit China this year, has the potential to whip up waves as high as 11 metres in the northern part of the South China Sea, the forecasting centre said, adding that waves up to six meters high will appear in coastal areas in Guangdong.
Ships in these areas should take care to avoid the waves and local authorities should take precautionary measures, the centre urged.
China uses a four-tier colour-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe weather, followed by orange, yellow and blue.
The National Commission for Disaster Reduction has also issued an early disaster warning and asked authorities to prepare for Utor's arrival.
The typhoon may also be felt in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and the provinces of Fujian and Yunnan in south China, according to the commission.
Authorities have been asked to remain alert, enhance monitoring, issue early warnings and evacuate residents in threatened areas in a timely way and call fishing boats back to port.