Typhoon Chanthu yesterday unleashed powerful winds and heavy rain on eastern Taiwan, disrupting travel and cutting electricity to thousands of homes, but sparing the island a direct hit.
Downgraded from a super typhoon since its rapid formation last week, the outer edges of Chanthu pounded the eastern coastline, while its eye remained offshore as it moved north, the Central Weather Bureau said.
The greater Taipei area witnessed the heaviest rain, with Pinglin District (坪林) in New Taipei City recording about 180mm of rainfall from midnight on Saturday to 5pm yesterday.
Photo courtesy of Fengbin Township Office via CNA
As of 5pm, Chanthu was about 120km northeast of Taipei, moving north at 26kph, the bureau said.
The typhoon was packing sustained winds of up to 162kph, with gusts of up to 198kph, it said.
A land warning issued for Chanthu was to expire at 8:30pm yesterday, it added.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
A total of 159 domestic and international flights were canceled due to the typhoon, and all ferry services to outlying islands were also suspended, along with some train services, the Central Emergency Operations Center (CEOC) said.
About 2,600 people in landslide-prone areas in Hualien were evacuated, while about 31,000 troops were on standby for relief work, it said.
The storm knocked out power to 28,659 households, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said, adding that as of 1pm yesterday, power had been restored to all except 2,942 households in Yilan, Hualien and Taitung counties in the east, and Taichung and Changhua County in the west.
No major injuries had been reported as of press time last night.
The storm caused the most damage in Taipei and New Taipei City, where it toppled trees, the CEOC said, citing reports it received from across the nation.
Taiwan is regularly hit by tropical storms in the summer months.
In a rare exception to the rule, not a single typhoon made landfall last year, the first time in 56 years. That helped fuel the worst water shortage in Taiwan in decades until heavy rains brought much-needed relief in early summer.
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