Typhoon pounds Taiwan
TYPHOON Haitang lashed communities along Taiwan’s northeast coast Monday with heavy winds and rains, as officials ordered schools, government offices and financial markets to close amid reports of the storm’s first casualty.
Taiwanese media reported that rescue workers had recovered the body of a woman who was swept into a raging river in Taoyuan County, west of Taipei.
Officials said 34 people had been injured around the island in typhoon-related incidents.
Even while the storm was still out at sea, its gusting winds of up to 227 kilometers per hour wreaked havoc across Taiwan as the government warned of possible flash floods and landslides.
Haitang, the most powerful typhoon to hit Taiwan over the past five years, was centered about 40 kilometers east of the eastern coastal city of Hualien at 6 a.m. local time. It was forecast to move west-northwest at about 17 kilometers an hour.
All businesses, government offices and schools in Taiwan’s 23 cities and counties were closed Monday. More than 500 flights were canceled.
Torrential rains whipped through Taipei starting just before daybreak, and powerful winds uprooted trees and dislodged billboards in the northern part of the island.
Some 4,800 mainland fishermen took shelter in Taiwanese ports.
The typhoon knocked out power supplies to over 38,000 households, largely in the eastern and northern part of the island.
The management of the 508-meter Taipei 101, the world’s tallest skyscraper, put staff on alert as the building was expected to face its most powerful typhoon since it was inaugurated in December 2004.
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