Residents of Lanyu (蘭嶼), also known as Orchid Island, breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as Typhoon Jelawat picked up speed and turned east after quickly passing by the east coast.
Jelawat’s approach had brought strong winds to the outlying island, with gusts reaching level 16 on the Beaufort scale. It did not cause as much damage as last month, when the island was devastated by Typhoon Tembin.
The Central Weather Bureau said this was because Jelawat had only approached the east of Lanyu, blowing northerly winds across the island. When Tembin hit, it blew southerly winds across the island, destroying its harbor, gas station and supermarket because they were facing the wind, the bureau said.
Yen Tzu-yu (顏子矞), an elementary-school teacher in Lanyu whose Facebook photos brought attention to the damage caused by Tembin, said schools and government offices on the island were closed yesterday.
No casualties were reported in other parts of the nation either, according to the Central Emergency Operation Center, but flights to Taitung and Lanyu were canceled all day yesterday.
At 5:30pm yesterday, the center of the typhoon was 340km east of Hualien. It was moving northeast at 28kph. The bureau forecast Jelawat would move to 170km northeast of Naha by 5pm today. Bureau forecaster Lin Hsiu-wen (林秀雯) said the bureau had lifted the sea warning at 8:30pm.
As the typhoon accelerates toward Okinawa, the bureau warned that the storm’s circumfluence and the northeast monsoon could still bring heavy or extremely heavy rainfall to the nation’s northern and northeastern regions today. However, the weather would turn better this afternoon, she said, adding that the dry air that follows the storm would help stabilize the weather in time for the Mid-Autumn Festival tomorrow.