Saomai poised to hit as Bopha departs TaiwanAfter a lashing by tropical storm Bopha yesterday morning, Taiwan is now bracing itself for an onslaught by Typhoon Saomai, which is expected to hit the north and northeastern parts of the island today, the Central Weather Bureau (中央氣象局) said.
The CWB lifted its land warning for Bopha while simultaneously issuing a land warning for approaching Saomai at 11:30 a.m. yesterday.
Residents on Matsu Island, northeastern Yilan County as well as Keelung, Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli Counties have been warned to expect torrential rains and strong winds today due to the passing typhoon.
The bureau has also issued a sea warning, cautioning ships operating north and northeast of Taiwan as well as in the northern part of the Taiwan Strait to be on special alert.
CWB Forecast Vice Director Lin Hsiu-wen said that since Saomai is moving fast, it is expected to cross northern Taiwan quickly and be gone by 2:00 p.m. today.
All domestic flights scheduled to arrive or depart Taipei before 3:00 p.m. today have been cancelled. Flight times of other flights, including several international ones, have been changed, so travelers are advised to call the appropriate airline company to check their flight details.
A forecaster with CWB, Seam Tang, said that Saomai's structure is currently solid and it is possible that it could still strengthen into a fierce typhoon.
Tang said the strong winds and heavy rains will affect Taiwan most of this morning and are expected to hit Mastu Island this afternoon.
As of 8 p.m. last night, the eye of Saomai was located at 360 kilometers east of Keelung, moving west northwest at a speed of 28 kilometers per hour. The radius of its storm force winds was 180 kilometers from its center and maximum wind speeds are 173 kilometers per hour.
The word saomai is the Vietnamese for the planet Venus.
As for Bopha, the bureau said its eye landed in southern Taitung County and not Pingtung County, noting that it weakened from a tropical storm into a tropical depression soon after leaving Taiwan.
No one was killed or by Bopha and it didn't cause major financial losses, the National Disasters Prevention and Protection Commission said.
Source:Taiwan News (2006-08-10 13:44:00)
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