Taiwan was bracing itself for the arrival of Typhoon Khanun on Thursday, with schools, stores and its stock market shutting down before the storm’s 130mph winds hit.
Khanun, categorised by Taiwan’s weather bureau as the second-strongest typhoon level, was heading towards its northeastern coasts with maximum winds of 209kph.
The storm hit power lines in Japan’s popular tourist destination Okinawa, knocking out electricity to more than 200,000 households on Wednesday morning and killing one man.
Northern cities including New Taipei, Keelung, Yilan and the capital Taipei will shut businesses and schools on Thursday. Taiwan’s stock and foreign exchange markets will also be closed.
Total rainfall of up to 0.6m (2ft) was forecast in mountainous central Taiwan while 0.3m (1ft) of rain was expected in the mountains near Taipei.
Typhoon Khanun was moving across the ocean in a westerly direction at 4kph (2.4mph), weather officials said, and was expected to skirt past Taiwan’s northern coasts late on Thursday before making a sharp turn to the northeast on Friday.
Nearly 30 domestic and international flights have been cancelled, and all domestic ferry lines will be suspended on Thursday.
An emergency response centre has been set up by the central government and hundreds of soldiers were on standby in northern cities, the defence ministry said.
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara