Northern Taiwan bracing for typhoon

Taipei, Northern Taiwan is expected to be hit hardest by fast-approaching Super Typhoon Maria, with heavy rain and strong winds likely to arrive late Tuesday and early Wednesday, according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB).

The CWB issued a land warning for the typhoon Monday at 11:30 p.m. after issuing a sea warning earlier in the day at 2:30 p.m.

According to the bureau's latest alert, the storm's impact will become more obvious starting Tuesday evening when Maria's periphery touches Taiwan, and it will affect the island into Wednesday morning before moving away toward China.

As of 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, Maria was 490 kilometers east of Yilan moving at a speed of 28 kilometers per hour in a west-northwesterly direction, CWB data showed.

It is packing maximum sustained winds of 191 kph and gusts of 234 kph.

Judging from the storm's current path, it is unlikely to make landfall in Taiwan but its periphery will engulf the northern part of the island, the bureau said.

CWB technical specialist Huang Chun-hsi (???) said the typhoon seemed to have slowed down from a day earlier and its strength could fade a little during the day, but the threat posted by the storm remains in place.

Huang urged residents of Taipei, New Taipei, Keelung, Yilan, Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli to be on the alert for heavy rains and strong winds.

Residents of Taichung, Changhua and Nantou in central Taiwan and Hualien County in eastern Taiwan should take precautions to minimize any potential impact from the storm in those areas.

The CWB has issued an extremely heavy rain warning for New Taipei, and Keelung and mountainous areas of Taipei, Taoyuan, Yilan, Hsinchu, Miaoli and Taichung.

A heavy rain warning is also in effect for Taipei, Hualien, Nantou, Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi, and Kaohsiung, low-lying areas in Taoyuan, Yilan, Hsinchu, Miaoli and Taichung, and mountainous parts of Tainan, Pingtung and Taitung, the CWB said.

Heavy rain means accumulated rainfall of more than 80mm in 24 hours or more than 40mm of rainfall in one hour, while extremely heavy rain refers to more than 200mm in 24 hours or accumulated rainfall of more than 100mm in three hours, according to the CWB.

The CWB said temperature highs in western Taiwan are expected to hit 33-34 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, while the mercury in Hualien and Taitung in eastern Taiwan could top 35 degrees due to possible foehn winds -- which are dry, strong and hot downslope winds.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel