Taiwan braces for Typhoon Soulik

Hundreds of villagers and tourists evacuated as storm approaches, packing gusts of 227 kmph.

    Typhoon Soulik has weakened slightly as it heads towards northern Taiwan, but still remains a power storm.

    Authorities have been forced to move hundreds of villagers to safer areas.

    Weather forecasters on Thursday warned of “fierce winds and torrential rains” as authorities evacuated about 2,300 tourists.

    They were evacuated from Green Island, off the southeastern city of Taitung with the authorities also issuing a warning to ships sailing north and east off Taiwan to take special precaution.

    The typhoon is currently packing winds of 195 kph, with gust of up to 240 kph, the equivalent of a category three Atlantic hurricane.

    Soulik is moving west-northwest towards Taiwan at about 20 kph and is expected to make landfall in the north of the island just before 0GMT on Saturday.

    Heavy rains

    "The public must heighten their vigilance as the typhoon will certainly bring strong winds and heavy rains," a weather forecaster told AFP news agency.

    On the Chinese mainland, meteorological authorities maintained an orange alert for Soulik, the second-highest level, Beijing's official Xinhua news agency reported.

    After hitting Taiwan, Soulik is forecasted to head towards the coastal provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian, bringing "extremely strong" winds, according to the National Meteorological Centre.

    In 2009 about 600 people in Taiwan were killed in Typhoon Morakot with most of them buried in huge landslides in the south, in one of the worst natural disasters to lash the island in recent years. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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