BEIJING -- A typhoon that left a trail of destruction and dozens dead in the Philippines killed two people in southern China before moving toward northern Vietnam on Saturday as a strong tropical storm.

Typhoon Conson (Basyang in the Philippines) turned billboards lethal on China's southern resort island of Hainan. The state-run Xinhua News Agency said a falling billboard killed a motorcycle rider Friday night, and another toppled and buried a security guard under debris.

By 8 a.m. Saturday, Hainan's meteorological station said Conson was moving northwest over open water again and had downshifted into a strong tropical storm. It was expected to hit northern Vietnam on Saturday afternoon or evening and was moving at 12 miles (20 kilometers) an hour.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung urged authorities in 23 northern and central provinces on Friday to ban ships and fishing trawlers from sailing. He also ordered local governments to evacuate people from high-risk areas and to advise others to stockpile food and medicine.

The storm left a mess in Hainan, China's version of Hawaii.

Provincial officials said 79 flights were canceled Friday night in the resort city of Sanya, and almost 40,000 people across the province had been evacuated to safer ground by Friday evening. (AP)