The Central Weather Bureau yesterday issued a sea alert for Typhoon Usagi and warned that the storm could strengthen and would continue to affect the nation until Sunday.
The bureau added that it might issue a land warning around noon today should the storm continue on its current path.
Despite the approaching typhoon, the sun was out in most parts of the nation yesterday, the first day of the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday.
The highest temperature was recorded in Chiayi County at 34oC, followed by 34.2oC in Hsinchu County and 33.7oC in Greater Taichung.
Taipei Railway Station was packed with travelers yesterday morning, with the Taiwan Railways Administration estimating that the total number of passengers could hit 700,000. Sunday should be another peak travel period as people prepare to head back to school and the workplace.
The National Freeway Bureau said traffic congestion was reported at Freeway Nos. 1 and 3 after an oil delivery truck overturned near the Hsinchu Interchange, which reduced the driving speed to 10kph in some sections. Traffic jams were also seen on Freeway No. 5 as people took advantage of the four-day holiday to travel to the east coast.
The sunny weather is forecast to end today as Usagi’s circumfluence starts bringing rain to the nation.
Bureau forecaster Lin Jhih-hui (林智暉) said that the typhoon’s center was 910km southeast of Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻) at press time. It was moving northwest at 17kph. She said that the maximum wind speed had reached 173kph, with the radius of the typhoon exceeding 250km.
With the projected path for the typhoon moving slightly south, the bureau said it would not rule out that the typhoon could make landfall in southern parts of the nation.
Chances of rain are high today in the northern, northeastern and mountainous areas of central and southern Taiwan.
Lin said that the nation could experience heavy rainfall and strong winds today and tomorrow, adding that the typhoon could continue to affect the nation on Sunday.
Cheng Ming-dean (鄭明典), director of the bureau’s weather forecast center, posted a satellite photo of Usagi on Facebook showing the eye of the typhoon. Cheng said that the thick clouds on the wall of the typhoon’s eye looked even, a sign of strong winds and possibly a strong typhoon.
“If you look closely, there are vertical wavy lines on the wall of the typhoon’s eye,” Cheng said. “This means there is a strong divergent flow in the upper part of the storm, which means the typhoon’s strength is increasing.”
The bureau said it was also monitoring a tropical depression that formed near Guam yesterday afternoon.
Should it turn into a tropical storm, it would be named Pabuk, the bureau said.
It added that Usagi and the new tropical depression would not generate a Fujiwhara effect, in which the two storms would orbit around each other and merge into one bigger typhoon, as they are too far from each other.