With central Taiwan still struggling to recover from the damage brought by Tropical Storm Mindulle last month, meteorologists yesterday called on residents living in the northern and northeastern regions to brace themselves for more rain and wind as Typhoon Rananim moves towards Taiwan.
As of press time yesterday, the typhoon was centered at 360km east northeast of Taipei, according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB), and heading northwest at speeds of up to 17kph.
It is expected to be 180km north northeast of Taiwan by 5pm this evening.
CWB meteorologists expect that Taiwan be affected by Rananim today and tomorrow at the very least, citing that the storm, which is currently classified as moderate in strength and impact, was just shy of being categorized as a major typhoon.
With a radius of 250km, maximum sustained winds of 140kph, and gusts of up to 175kph, the typhoon is expected to continue to gain strength according to CWB forecasts last night.
Accompanying rainfall is predicted to be especially heavy beginning early today and lasting until 5pm tonight as Typhoon Rananim continues to head northwest towards China.
By yesterday evening, the typhoon had brought 122mm of rain to Taipei County, with Taitung and Hsinchu seeing the highest levels of rainfall at 143mm of rain and 174mm respectively.
As much as 600mm of rain was expected for the northern mountainous regions yesterday night.
At 11:30am yesterday, the CWB issued land warnings for Keelung, Ilan, Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli. The CWB also warned that vessels operating in waters off of Taiwan's north, northeast, and southeast coasts, and in the northern part of the Taiwan Strait should be on high alert against to heavy winds and rainfall.
Residents should beware of possible landslides, falling rocks, flash floods and rising water levels, as torrential rain is expected in the north, northeast and south central mountain regions, CWB meteorologists said.
Water Resources Agency director Chen Shen-hsien (陳伸賢) also said yesterday that residents should stay away from the Taipei County Hsichih portion of the Peigang River and Keelung City's Yurei Creek as breakers protecting against flooding were insufficient in the areas.
However, he played down the damage that rainfall could bring.
"Although Typhoon Rananim will bring torrential rain to Taiwan, if the rainfall is not concentrated in a short amount of time, the impact in northern Taiwan should not be overly damaging," Chen said.