Sat, Jul 09, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Typhoon ravages Taitung, brings heavy rainfall

CASUALTIES:Three people were killed on Thursday, while 142 were reportedly injured yesterday, with a majority sustaining cuts to the head and limbs

Staff writer, with CNA

A person on a scooter yesterday navigates through the debris on Chunghua Road in Taitung City after the onslaught of Typhoon Nepartak.

Photo: Chang Tsun-wei, Taipei Times

Typhoon Nepartak ravaged Taitung yesterday, while pummeling much of the country with strong, gusty winds and heavy rain.

At 4:37am yesterday, a weather station recorded gusts of 205kph in Taitung City, which reached the highest level of 17 — referring to gusts that measure between 202kph and 220kph — on the extended Beaufort wind force scale, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said.

The previous record was recorded in 1955, when Typhoon Iris hit the nation.

At that time, gusts reached 186kph, the bureau said.

The first storm of this year’s Pacific typhoon season made landfall at 5:50am yesterday in Taitung’s mountainous Taimali Township (太麻里).

It then ravaged the county, toppling trees, ripping off rooftops, overturning cars on the streets and knocking down street signs and utility poles. The strong winds blew off the roof of a container house in Taimali, injuring a family of four. One female family member, reported to be in critical condition, was rushed to hospital.

At press time last night, 142 people were reportedly injured, mostly in Taitung.

The Taitung branch of Mackay Memorial Hospital and Taitung Christian Hospital activated emergency measures to take care of the wounded, most of whom sustained injuries to the head and limbs.

Most were cut by fallen glass or fell on the streets, hospital officials said.

As of yesterday morning, the Taitung County Government’s Fire Department had received more than 300 reports of fallen signboards and trees.

According to government statistics, there were three deaths reported as Nepartak approached Taiwan on Thursday.

One of them was a soldier based in the offshore county of Lienchiang, which consists mainly of the Matsu islands.

The soldier was fishing on the coast of Dongying (東引) islet in Penghu when he fell into the sea because of the strong winds.

His body was recovered yesterday morning, local authorities said.

At about noon on Thursday, a man was reported to have drowned near Cisingtan Beach (七星潭), a top tourist attraction in the eastern county of Hualien.

The third fatality was a 71 year-old woman who died from severe wounds after being hit by a falling wardrobe in Taitung.

CWB said the eye of Typhoon Nepartak left land and entered the Taiwan Strait from Tainan’s Jiangjun District (將軍) at 2:30pm, moving northwest at 12kph.

With a radius of 200km, the storm was carrying maximum sustained winds of 155kph, with gusts of up to 191kph.

While the typhoon was heading toward the outlying islands of Penghu and Kinmen, people there were advised to remain alert for strong winds and heavy rain brought by the storm.

Bureau forecaster Chen Yi-liang (陳怡良) said that although the wind and rain had abated, the volume of rainfall in Hualien, Taitung, Pingtung, Kaohsiung and Tainan was already as high as 40mm, with rain continuing to fall.

The bureau also warned of extreme torrential rain in Kaohsiung and the counties of Hualien, Taitung, Pingtung and Chiayi; and of torrential rain in Taichung and Tainan, and the counties of Yilan, Nantou and Yunlin.

Meanwhile, unscheduled short-haul train service resumed in northern Taiwan yesterday afternoon after train lines across the nation were shut down for much of the day because of the storm.

The Taiwan Railways Administration advised passengers to get the latest train information from its official Web site — www.railway.gov.tw — or through its two telephone hotlines — 02-2191-0096 and 0800-765888 — before traveling.

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