Typhoon Matmo forces closures Wednesday
Matsu only area not to decide until Wednesday morning
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-22 08:12 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Typhoon Matmo was expected to cross Taiwan from east to west as schools and offices in most of the country were forced to shut down Wednesday.

The storm was expected to make landfall on the east coast, probably in Hualien County, in the early hours this morning, according to forecasts by the Central Weather Bureau. It would move across central Taiwan before entering the Taiwan Straits before the early afternoon and leaving the island altogether by the evening, forecasters said.

Schools and offices in the whole country with the exception of the offshore island of Matsu would be closed all day Wednesday, local governments announced Tuesday evening. Matsu's Lienchiang County Government was expected to announce a decision at 6 a.m. Wednesday whether to follow the rest of the country.

Yilan and Hualien already closed offices and schools Tuesday evening from 6 o’clock as they were the first regions to be hit by strong winds and torrential rains from the typhoon approaching Taiwan from the east.

As a result of the closures, the stock market remained closed Wednesday.

By 8 p.m. Tuesday, the center of the storm was located 170 kilometers south-southeast from Hualien over the Pacific and was moving northwest turning north-northwest at a speed of 20 km per hour, the bureau said.

Wind speeds averaged 137 kph near the center of the typhoon with gusts of up to 173 kph.

Land warnings covered all of Taiwan’s main island, and sea warnings included all the waters around the island, including the full Taiwan Straits. The weather bureau warned of floods in low-lying areas and mudslides in mountainous regions. Local governments were asked to prepare for eventual evacuations and to keep an eye out for the threat of landslides.

Orchid Island, east of Taitung County in the Pacific, recorded the strongest wind and rainfall during the early phase of the typhoon. The weather bureau said 284 millimeters of rain fell on the sparsely populated island Tuesday until 8 p.m.

The typhoon also disrupted traffic, with many domestic flights affected. China Southern Airlines canceled five flights between Taiwan and several destinations in China, reports said. Air Asia postponed two flights to Malaysia Tuesday and Wednesday because of the typhoon while Cathay Pacific also changed its schedule for some flights between Hong Kong and Taiwan, reports said.

Several roads and railway lines were preventively closed including the road between Su’ao in Yilan County and Hualien, frequently the scene of landslides during heavy rain.

A large proportion of train traffic would be halted until noon Wednesday, with a decision about the afternoon likely to be announced at 9 a.m., reports said.

In Taipei City, one entrance to the malls under the main railway station was opened to homeless people to spend Tuesday night out of the rain.

An estimated 2,000 households in Taitung County lost power Tuesday, but only 771 were still left without electricity by the early evening, reports said.

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