Typhoon Hato is expected to make landfall in southern Taiwan with the eye passing to the south of the island tomorrow.
Although classified as a weak typhoon, Philippines state weather bureau PAGASA warned that the cyclone had intensified as it swept over the northernmost parts of the Philippines. According to PAGASA, maximum sustained winds had risen from 65kph to 80kph by late Monday morning.
Counties on the east coast and in the south of Taiwan are bracing for heavy rain and strong winds expected to be generated by the tropical storm.
The Central Weather Bureau issued a land warning for Typhoon Hato at 2:30pm today, Monday, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs this evening opened the Central Disaster Emergency Response Center.
At the time of writing Typhoon Hato was located 340km east of Point Eluanbi and moving north-northwest at 20km per hour. The Central Weather Bureau said the influence of the typhoon will be strongest from tonight and tomorrow. At 5:30pm the CWB issued heavy rain warnings for 16 counties and cities.
Monday afternoon, the Ministry of Defense dispatched troops with amphibious vehicles and other equipment to flood-vulnerable communities in Kaohsiung, and Pingtung County.
In Kaohsiung, China Airlines has announced the cancellation of all flights from Kaohsiung Airport tomorrow.
Work and classes are cancelled for tomorrow, Tuesday for Taitung and Pingtung Counties.
In Miaoli County, members of the 7th Special Police Corps went into the mountains to persuade hikers to avoid getting getting stranded by heavy rain and swollen streams. More than 200 hikers halted their trips and descended, while another 252 people were persuaded to avoid entering the mountain trails. By late afternoon, however, there were another 58 groups with a total of 232 people who police had not been able to make contact with.
In Chiayi County, the Alishan Forest Railway has been suspended for 2 days. The scenic railway that travels between Chiayi City is prone to land and mudslides during periods of heavy rain. The Chiayi Forest Management Office said that if Chiayi County is included in the typhoon land warning, or accumulates more than 380mm of rain over a 24 hour period, the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area will be closed.
All ferries to Green Island, Orchid Island and Xiao Liuqiu Island have been suspended for Tuesday.
The Typhoon is not expected to have a significant effect on in the north part of the island, and the capital Taipei, where the 29th Summer Universiade is being hosted.
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