The Central Weather Bureau was scheduled to issue a sea alert late last night for Typhoon Meranti, which is threatening southern Taiwan, and it could not rule out the possibility of issuing a land alert this morning.
Meranti picked up strength at about 2pm yesterday, when its center was 1,000km southeast of Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻), the southernmost tip of Taiwan proper, and was moving northwest toward the coast of the Hengchun Peninsula at 22kph, the bureau said.
With a radius of 200km, the storm was packing maximum sustained winds of about 183.6kph and gusts of up to 226.8kph, bureau data show.
The typhoon’s circumfluence could affect the weather in Taiwan today, with chances of showers being high in eastern, northern and southern regions as well as the mountainous area in the center of the nation, forecaster Lin Ding-yi (林定宜) said.
Heavy rain is expected tonight, but the nation would feel Meranti’s effects more strongly tomorrow and Thursday morning, particularly residents in southern and eastern Taiwan, he said.
Based on the bureau’s projected path for Meranti, the typhoon’s eye would probably not make landfall in Taiwan.
However, it would pass through the sea very close to the southwest coast of the Hengchun Peninsula before moving west toward China.
The Maritime Port Bureau said that 28 shipping services are scheduled to be canceled today and tomorrow, with most of them operating off the east coast between Orchid Island (蘭嶼, also known as Lanyu) and Green Island (綠島).
In addition, a charter ship service between Taichung and Kinmen County, scheduled for 11pm tomorrow, will be canceled, the Kinmen County government said.
National Dong Hwa University in Hualien County also announced yesterday that tomorrow’s classes will be canceled, while administrative staff will not have to work past noon.
Apart from Meranti, there are two tropical depressions that have the potential of turning into tropical storms, the bureau said.
One is located near the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島) and is moving northwest at 15kph, the bureau said. That depression is forecast to move toward Indochina after turning into a tropical storm and is less likely to affect Taiwan, it said.
The path of the other depression, which was west of Guam and moving northwest at 20kph, would have to be determined after further observation, as it is still about 2,000km from Taiwan, the bureau said.
Additional reporting by CNA
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