Taipei : The strongest typhoon of the year was bearing down on Taiwan’s east coast, forcing the evacuation of more than 2,000 from outlying islands popular with tourists.
Typhoon Soudelor, packing maximum wind gusts of up to 209 kilometres per hour, was 790 kilometres southeast of Hualien county as of 5:30 pm local time (0930 GMT).
It is currently categorised as a moderate storm by Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau, although other observatories in the region class it as a severe typhoon. Soudelor, predicted to strengthen as it approaches Taiwan, is expected to batter the island hardest between tomorrow and early Saturday.
A sea warning has already been issued and the weather bureau has said it will also put out a land warning later.
Around 2,600 people, including tourists and residents, have been evacuated from Green Island and Orchid Island off the coast of the eastern county of Taitung, according to the tourism office.
Ferry services to the outlying islands were suspended. “It’s (currently) posing a threat to the sea off the eastern half of Taiwan and the Bashi Channel,” said the weather bureau.
Taiwan celebrates Father’s Day on August 8 and the inclement weather is expected to disrupt many families’ plans.
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