People around the country should be prepared for heavy rains brought by Typhoon Aere from today, while residents in mountainous areas in the central and northern parts of the nation may experience dangerous levels of rainfall exceeding 350mm each hour, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday.
The bureau issued sea and land typhoon warnings yesterday, saying that heavy rain was expected to continue until early on Thursday.
At press time, officials in Taipei City, Taipei County, Keelung, Ilan County and Taoyuan County said that schools would close and that public servants in non-essential services would not be required to work.
Rail services between Taipei and Hualien were also canceled until further notice, though schools and public agencies in Hualien will function as normal.
At 7pm yesterday, Typhoon Aere was packing gusts of 155kph and was centered 390km east-southeast of Taipei, moving west-northwest at 12kph, meteorologists said.
The perimeter of the typhoon will cross eastern and northern parts of the country this afternoon. At 5pm today it is expected to be centered 80km east of Taipei.
Forecasters said that Chaba, a faster and stronger typhoon further to the east, was also heading northwest and that the distance between the two storms was declining with time. At press time yesterday, the distance between them was about 2,000km.
The two typhoons had to be carefully watched because interaction between the two may retard the speed of Typhoon Aere as it reaches Taiwan, thus prolonging the duration of intense rainfall, the bureau said.
"Interaction might cause Aere to slow down, pushing it to the south," said Fred Tsai (蔡甫甸), a division chief at the bureau's Weather Forecast Center.
Tsai said that typhoon interaction, known as the Fujiwara effect, involves the rotation of two storms around one another. The phenomenon is thought to occur when the distance between typhoons drops to around 1,450km.
Forecasters warned of the potential for floods, mudflows and landslides because of the probability of consistently heavy rain.
The Taipei basin could be hit by severe flooding if the eye of the typhoon passes between Pengchiayu islet and Keelung, forecast center director Daniel Wu (吳德榮) said.
Yesterday afternoon, officials at Shihmen Dam discharged water to make space for the expected deluge.
Officials at the Water Resources Agency said yesterday that people should be prepared for the possibility of flooding because most reservoirs in the north of the country are already at 80 percent capacity.
The Council of Agriculture yesterday recommended that all vessels shelter at the nearest harbor.
A Hong Kong-registered fishing boat with nine crew was flipped over yesterday by huge waves near Pengchiayu islet. Six people were rescued. At press time, the coast guard was looking for the missing crew members.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Defense announced yesterday that combat training for ground and air forces scheduled for tomorrow -- to cap off the annual Han Kuang ("Han glory") military exercises -- will be postponed.