TAIPEI – Southern Taiwan on Thursday shut businesses and schools while airlines cancelled hundreds of flights amid warnings of landslides and floods as Typhoon Doksuri churned past the island en route to China where it will make landfall later this week.
As of 10:15 a.m. (0215 GMT) Typhoon Doksuri, categorized at the second-strongest typhoon level by Taiwan‘s weather bureau, headed towards the southern Taiwan Strait with maximum winds of 191 km (118 miles) per hour.
At one point Doksuri was a super typhoon, but lost some of its strength after it lashed the coastline of the northern Philippines on Wednesday, bursting banks of rivers and leaving thousands without electricity.
Doksuri killed five people in the Philippines, according to the country’s disaster agency.
Taiwan‘s weather bureau issued wind and rain warnings on Thursday for the southern and eastern part of the island, including the major port city of Kaohsiung where businesses and schools were closed and landslide warnings issued.
All domestic flights and ferry lines were suspended in Taiwan while more than 100 international flights were cancelled or delayed. Railway services between southern and eastern Taiwan were shut.
More than 5,700 people were evacuated as a precaution, mostly in the mountainous southern and eastern Taiwan, where more than 0.7 meters of rainfall was recorded in some areas and up to 1 meter of rain was forecast.
The storm had cut power from more than 49,000 households across Taiwan but the majority of them had since been restored.
“Typhoon Doksuri should not be underestimated,” Kaohsiung city mayor Chen Chi-mai said in a Facebook post late on Wednesday.
“The police and military force will assist in the effort of forced evacuation if needed,” he said, pointing threats by torrential rain in mountainous areas.
Braving occasional showers and winds, Taiwan‘s armed forces pressed ahead with a large-scale anti-landing drill on a beach near the major Taipei Port just outside the capital, simulating the repulsion of an enemy force with ground troops and tanks amid high military tensions with neighboring China.
The storm has disrupted parts of Taiwan‘s main annual Han Kuang exercises and air-raid drills that started on Monday, as authorities cancelled some exercises citing safety concerns and the need to make preparations for the typhoon. – Reuters