Taiwan may be spared the worst after Super Typhoon Mangkhut changes course

14-Sep-2018 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Taiwan might be able to breathe a sigh of relief, weather forecasters said on Thursday, after the latest movements of Super Typhoon Mangkhut suggested it would spare the island.

However, members of the public were still urged to take precautionary measures against the torrential rains that the typhoon, described by local weathermen as the most powerful this year, will bring.

“Due to a strong ridge of high pressure in the Pacific, the direction of Mangkhut has been revised somewhat southward, which would reduce the chance of our issuing a sea warning,” said Wu Yi-fan, a forecaster from the Central Weather Bureau.

Unless the sphere of the typhoon enlarges, Taiwan might not be in Mangkhut’s direct path, Wu said. He added that although the typhoon could spare the island a direct hit, it would still bring torrential rains to the south and east of the island, where serious flooding occurred earlier this month.

As of Thursday morning, Mangkhut, was 1,510km off Elunabi, the southernmost tip of the island and had sustained wind speeds of up to 205km/h (127mph) with gusts as high as 255km/h.

The typhoon is even more powerful than Jebi, which left a trail of destruction in Japan last week.

Wu Te-jung, professor of meteorology at Central University in Hsinchu, said Mangkhut was expected to strengthen on Friday, but the threat to Taiwan had been reduced by its change of direction towards the Bashi Channel, which connects the northern Philippines to Taiwan.

The eye of the typhoon was forecast to go through the northern tip of Luzon, the main Philippine island, on Friday, he added.

The government, however, said it would remain on high alert and would be prepared for any changes in direction.

“All relevant units continue to be on standby and remain vigilant,” cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said.

Upon learning of the approach of Mangkhut, Taiwanese Premier William Lai Ching-te went to the weather bureau on Sunday to learn how destructive the typhoon might be.

He instructed all relevant authorities to make the best preparations for the typhoon’s arrival, mindful of the destruction Jebi caused in Japan.

It was the most powerful storm to hit Japan in 25 years and left at least 11 people reported dead and more than 600 injured, cutting off power supplies to more than a million homes.

The typhoon peeled the roofs off buildings, flipped over vehicles, toppled power poles and sent a 2,700-tonne tanker crashing into the side of a bridge.

Around 3,000 tourists were also left stranded after Kansai International Airport was flooded.



Category: Taiwan

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