Taiwan orders markets, schools closed as strong typhoon approaches

Taiwan orders markets, schools closed as strong typhoon approaches

Typhoon shuts businesses, forces flight cancellations in Taiwan
A pedestrian fights against strong winds caused by tropical storm Bailu in Taipei, Aug 24, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Sam Yeh)

YILAN, Taiwan: Taiwan shut down its financial markets and ordered schools closed on Monday (Sep 30) as a typhoon approached its northeastern coast, while airlines cancelled more than 150 flights amid warnings of floods and high winds.

Typhoon Mitag, categorised by Taiwan's weather bureau as at the second-strongest typhoon level, was expected to approach the coast of Yilan county with maximum winds of 162kmh on Monday night.

It was moving across the ocean in a north-northwesterly direction at 25kmh, weather officials said, and could gain strength as it approaches the island.

The bureau issued wind and rain warnings for greater Taipei, the northern port city of Keelung, and other northern counties. It also put out a warning to seafarers around Taiwan.

About 12,000 soldiers were on standby amid fears of floods and storm surge.

"The national army and authorities are on all out alert. Friends in the affected areas please make preparations for the typhoon and stay indoor as much as possible," President Tsai Ing-wen wrote on Facebook.

More than 150 flights and ferry services were cancelled, while several highways across the island were shut amid fears of landslides and floods. The storm cut power to about 2,700 houses on Monday morning.

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After passing over Taiwan, the typhoon was expected to approach China's eastern city of Shanghai on Tuesday, forecasts showed. 

Typhoons regularly hit Taiwan, China, the Philippines and Japan in the second half of the year, gathering strength from the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean or South China Sea.

Typhoon Morakot devastated Taiwan in 2009 and killed nearly 700 people, most of them in landslides.

Source: Reuters