The Central Weather Bureau yesterday afternoon issued a sea alert for Typhoon Maria and said it would issue a land alert at 11:30pm last night.
As of 8:30pm yesterday, the center of the typhoon was about 920km southeast of Taipei and was moving at 30kph northwest toward Taiwan, weather forecast division specialist Wu Wan-hua (伍婉華) said.
Because Maria is moving fast, it could start affecting the weather along the east coast at about noon today, Wu said.
The sea alert yesterday applied to sea vessels operating off the north, northeast and southeast coasts, she said, adding that rogue waves have appeared off both the north and east coasts.
Based on the bureau’s forecast yesterday, Maria’s center would pass through the waters near the Pengjia Islet (彭佳嶼), instead of between Keelung City and Pengjia Islet, as the typhoon’s path has moved slightly north from its previous forecasts.
How the typhoon affects Taiwan would depend on the development of a Pacific high pressure system, Wu said.
“If the high pressure system is stronger than expected, the typhoon would have a stronger impact on Taiwan proper. If it is weaker than expected, there would be less damage on land,” she said.
Maria would begin affecting the nation by bringing intermittent rainfall in the north this morning, the bureau’s forecasts showed.
Stronger winds and rainfall would be more obvious from tonight to early tomorrow morning, the bureau said.
Photo: Lin Hsin-han, Taipei Time
Heavy to extremely heavy rainfall could occur on the plains and mountainous areas in northern and central Taiwan, as well as in the northeastern region, it added.
The bureau urged Lienchiang County residents to prepare for possible damage if the typhoon’s structure does not weaken after it makes contact with land, the bureau said.
Taiwan proper is expected to start to emerge from the storm’s influence tomorrow afternoon, the bureau said.
The Keelung, Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan city governments announced that offices and schools would be open today.
In separate news, a trainer and two trainees from the Apex Flight Academy (安捷飛航訓練中心) were rescued yesterday after their training aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing at sea.
The Aviation Safety Council is to investigate the cause of the incident, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said.
The plane lost contact with control tower personnel at 17:07pm yesterday at about 11 nautical miles (20km) southwest of Kaohsiung International Airport.
The CAA contacted the Coast Guard Administration and Air Force Rescue Group, which subsequently identified the plane’s location at about 6pm.
Mandarin Airlines (華信航空) has canceled all flights departing from Taipei International Airport (Songshan Airport) to Taitung, Kinmen and Penghu after 2pm today. Fights departing from Taichung or Kaohsiung airports to Kinmen, Penghu and Hualien after 6pm have also been canceled.
China Airlines (CAL, 中華航空) announced that several flights between Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Okinawa (CI-120/121/122/123) tonight would be postponed to tomorrow.
Passengers are advised to monitor possible changes in arrival and departure times today due to the typhoon.
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