Taiwan Battens Down the Hatches as Typhoon Maria Approaches

Government units are making preparations ahead of Typhoon Maria, which is approaching the northern tip of Taiwan, and expected to bring strong wind gusts and heavy rain from Tomorrow evening, Tuesday, July 10, through Wednesday, July 11, according to Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau(CWB).

At 8:00am this morning, Typhoon Maria, which is categorized as a category 5 “super typhoon” by the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center, was located 1,290 kilometers east of Taipei. The tropical storm is packing maximum sustained winds of up to 198 kilometers per hour, with gusts up to 245 kilometers per hour.

The CWB today issued a typhoon sea alert at 2.30pm, marking the first typhoon warning for 2018. A land alert may be issued as early as 11:30pm tonight, the CWB said. The sea alert warns shipping operating in the waters of northern Taiwan, north-eastern Taiwan, and South-eastern Taiwan.

According to the CWB forecast, Maria is predicted to dump between 400 to 550 millimeters of rain in northern districts, including the capital Taipei and the greater-Taipei metropolitan district. Successive days of heavy rain may lead to landslides, rockfalls, rapid rises of water levels in rivers and streams, and flooding in low lying areas.

The tropical storm is also expected to bring large waves and strong gusts to coastal regions, and the CWB urged people to avoid going near coastal waters or venturing into mountain districts.

portable pumps being tested ahead of typhoon
The Taipei City Water Resources Department said that it is ready for flood control with 87 pumping stations, 418 pumping units, 60 water retention ponds, 109 kilometers of river dikes, 36 levee evacuation gates, and 1,158 water gates inspected. Picture: Taipei City Water Resources Office.
Disaster Preparedness New Taipei City

New Taipei City Deputy Mayor Lee Shu-chuan convened a meeting of the Disaster Response Center this morning to make preparations for a possible onslaught of wind and rain. Lee called on relevant units to test and prepare the 82 pumping stations in New Taipei City, check river levees, roadside trees, signboards, and scaffolding for stability, and test and prepare communications equipment.

In light of the weather warnings issued by the CWB, the deputy mayor also called on relevant units to restrict public access to dangerous areas such as riverbanks and beaches.

Sandbags are being prepared and residents in need can pick-up the sandbags at city government district offices.

trees pruned in Taipei City
Trees pruned ahead of typhoon. Picture: Taipei City Parks Office.
Taipei City Trees Pruned

In Taipei City, the Taipei City Parks Office said that it has completed the scheduled pruning of 175,582 trees, and braced trees with 1,629 supports in order to reduce public danger caused by the typhoon. TCPO urged the public to avoid going near large trees as much as possible during the typhoon, and to also avoid going near construction sites and large signboards to reduce the risk of being hit by heavy objects.

Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-jie told reporters that if a typhoon half-day stop work and classes order is issued he will make the announcement at 10:00am tomorrow morning at the latest. Stop work and class notices will be posted on the Executive Yuan’s Directorate of Personnel Administration web site.

Residents Urged to Store Water

Taiwan Water Corporation today urged residents to store water in case of stoppages due to heavy rains and turbidity. TWC also reminded people to turn off their water pumps if water supply is disrupted, to prevent pumps being damaged or catching fire if idling too long.

Water stoppage notices can be monitored on the TWC website or by calling 1910.

Ilan Prepares to Bear the Brunt

In Ilan County, which is situated on a coastal plain in the northeast, 250 shelters have been prepared in case residents require evacuation. Three hundred army troops and 44 vehicles have been dispatched to assist if evacuations are needed. National power provider Taipower has 395 engineers an 100 vehicles on standby for emergency repair work to the power grid.

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