Taiwanese began to stock up on food and emergency supplies Friday, after authorities issued a land warning for Typhoon Sepat, by far the most powerful storm to threaten the island this year.
The Central Weather Bureau, which issued the warning late Thursday, said that at 11:30 a.m. (0330 GMT) Friday, Sepat was located about 350 kilometers (217 miles) southeast of coastal Taidung county in southern Taiwan.
Packing sustained winds of 184 kilometers (114 miles) per hour, Sepat is moving northwest toward Taiwan at a speed of 21 kph (13 mph), the bureau said.
If Sepat stays on its current course, the fringe of the storm could affect the island Friday afternoon and make landfall over southeastern Taiwan Saturday morning, it said.
Sepat is the Malaysian word for a fresh water fish.
On Friday afternoon authorities in two coastal Taiwanese cities — Hualien and Taidung — closed schools and ordered workers home as the storm approached.
Elsewhere, emergency personnel began to stack sandbags along flood-prone river banks in the western county of Yunlin.
Taiwanese airlines said they were cancelling most domestic flights from Taipei's Songshan airport on Friday afternoon and evening, but international service at Taoyuan airport in a suburb of the capital was operating normally.
South of Taiwan, schools in the Philippines capital of Manila and seven nearby provinces were closed, while some government offices sent their workers home early due to the residual effects of the storm, officials said.
More than 1,000 people were evacuated from flooded villages in northern Pampanga province, where 70 houses were damaged. Twenty towns in Pampanga were under flood water, affecting 372,000 residents, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said.
A boat bound for northern Calayan island was stranded in the coastal town of Aparri with its 70 passengers, the NDCC added.
Several domestic flights and a Philippine Airlines flight to Narita, Japan were canceled because of bad weather, airport officials said.
Last Mod: 17 Ağustos 2007, 09:46