Ferry services halted in Taitung as Typhoon Lekima approaches

Taipei, Ferry services in Taitung County are to be halted from Thursday to Saturday due to the approaching Typhoon Lekima, according to local ferry operators.

Ferry services linking Taitung to Green Island and Orchid Island were suspended Thursday morning, as was the service from Houbihu in Pingtung County to Orchid Island.

Lekima had strengthened into a severe typhoon, packing maximum sustained winds of 191 kilometers per hour, with gusts of up to 234 kph as of 6 p.m. Thursday, the Central Weather Bureau said.

Impacted by the outer rim of Lekima, large waves are forecast in northern and northeastern coastal areas, Green Island and Orchid Island in the southeast of Taiwan, as well as Hengchun Peninsula in the south, the bureau said.

The bureau has issued land and sea warnings for Lekima, urging residents of Keelung, New Taipei, Taipei, Yilan and Hualien to be on high alert for strong winds and torrential rain.

Rough seas are also expected in coastal areas of Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu islands, the bureau said, urging the public to be vigilant if engaging in beach activities.

In Hualien County, the local government set up a category one emergency response center for Lekima in the morning.

All activities in Liyu Lake have been canceled, while other water and amusement parks will be closed from 5:30 p.m., Hualien County government said.

Since Wednesday afternoon, recreational boats carrying tourists on whalewatching activities have suspended operations through Friday, as Lekima continues to move northeast off Taiwan.

In the north, the Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf in New Taipei was closed Thursday morning over safety concerns, forcing the suspension of all bus services from the wharf.

If the water level in rivers across New Taipei continues to rise, sluice gates will be closed earlier than 9:00 p.m. as scheduled, to prevent any flooding in the city, the Water Resources Department said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel