The Central Weather Bureau yesterday issued sea and land alerts for Typhoon Soulik, adding that the nation would be affected by the stormy weather both today and tomorrow.
News of the typhoon sent retail prices of vegetables up by between 20 percent and almost 100 percent due to the increase in demand, Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Co said.
The annual Yilan International Folklore Festival, which started last weekend, also announced that its venue at Dongshan River Park would be closed for the weekend.
Tourists visiting Taroko Gorge and Green Island were asked to leave due to the approaching typhoon. Those insisting on going to Green Island were asked to sign affidavits saying that the government is not liable for their safety.
Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (雲門舞集) called off its free performance at Freedom Square in Taipei tomorrow night because of the storm.
Taipei City’s Department of Sports said the 2013 Yangmingshan Cross-Country Race will be held as scheduled on Sunday, but that the organizers will determine today whether any changes should be made to the route.
In addition, the Ho-Hai-Yan Gongliao Rock Festival (貢寮國際海洋音樂), which began Wednesday in New Taipei City (新北市), was suspended yesterday. A new date for the five-day festival will be announced later.
As of 5:30pm yesterday, Soulik’s center was located 790km southeast of Yilan. It was moving in northwest at 22km. The radius of the storm remained at 280km. The storm was packing winds of up to 173kph, with gusts of up to 209kph.
Gusts of wind generated by the typhoon could reach level 17 on the Beaufort scale. According to the bureau’s Web site, wind speeds exceeding level 11 signify a very high risk of serious damage.
The sea alert applied to vessels operating in off the northern, northeastern and southeastern coasts and the Bashi Channel.
Wu Wan-hua (伍婉華), a senior specialist at the weather forecast center, said the bureau had detected 3m tall waves in the nation’s southeastern coast yesterday afternoon.
The height of the waves in the northeaster coast had reach 1m as well. Travelers are advised to cancel trips to coastal areas as waves and wind are expected to become stronger when the typhoon approaches land, she said.
Wu added that Soulik had weakened a little, adding that the bureau forecast that its power would be further reduced.
“We estimate that the radius of the storm will hit land on the east coast this afternoon,” she added.
The bureau forecast that the typhoon would sweep through Taiwan from this evening until tomorrow morning by coming close to land in northern areas.
However, the bureau did not rule out that the typhoon’s center could make landfall, she said.
Wu said rainfall would start to occur in northern and northeastern regions this morning, and become stronger in the afternoon and evening.
Strong rainfall is also expected occur in central and southern areas.
Residents in the mountainous areas in central and northern Taiwan must be particularly careful of possible disasters caused by the torrential torrential rainfall, she said.
“If the typhoon makes landfall, people in the mountainous areas in southern Taiwan must be prepared to brave the torrential rain as well,” Wu said.
The bureau said that the radius of the storm could gradually move out of Taiwan tomorrow afternoon.
People on the nation’s outlying islands would have to wait until Sunday morning, it added.