Thu, Aug 16, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Sea alert expected as Typhoon Sepat approaches today

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Central Weather Bureau said yesterday it may issue a sea alert for Typhoon Sepat this morning and does not exclude the possibility of issuing a land alert immediately afterwards.

Sepat will affect Taiwan's weather beginning on Saturday.

`SERIOUS THREAT'

"Sepat poses a serious threat to Taiwan," said Daniel Wu (吳德榮), the bureau's director of forecasting. "The public has to be cautious and be prepared for its arrival."

As of press time, Sepat was located 820km east of Manila, moving northwest at 11kph and packing winds of up to 175kph. The radius of the storm has expanded to 300km.

The bureau forecast that by 8am today, the typhoon will be 640km northeast of Manila.

Sea vessels operating along the east coast of the Philippines and in the Bashi Channel have been told to be on the alert as Sepat may develop into a stronger typhoon today.

The bureau said the typhoon has a solid structure and is extremely powerful.

SOUTHWEST FRONT

Meanwhile, a southwest front affecting the nation has weakened. Nevertheless, forecasters are still predicting rain nationwide, particularly in the south and southeastern regions, as well as in Kinmen and Matsu.

The chances of afternoon thunderstorms were high in central and northern regions, the bureau said.

In related news, Pingtung County authorities dispatched 10 helicopters yesterday morning to evacuate 150 residents of Haocha Village (好茶) from the oncoming storm.

Media reports said more than 30 households were buried by mudslides on Tuesday. No deaths or injuries were reported.

CROP DAMAGE

Figures from the Council of Agriculture show the recent rain has caused an estimated NT$278 million (US$8.4 million) worth of crop damage since last Thursday. Up to 2,668 hectares of farmland have been affected, 19 percent of the nation's total area. Crops affected include watermelon, melon, cantaloupe and loofah.

The bad weather has also been blamed for the deaths of an estimated NT$33 million worth of farm animals, including 491,000 chickens, 75,000 ducks, 11,000 geese and 683 pigs.

Additional reporting by Angelica Oung

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